EMDR and the Medicine Wheel

Thursday 24th February: 6.30pm – 9.30pm



EMDR and the Medicine Wheel: Using culturally appropriate tools, including the Indigenous Medicine Wheel in EMDR with children, adolescents, and their families.

As our world becomes more connected through technology and social media, our boundaries between nations, cultures and countries are shrinking. Being culturally sensitive is a must when wanting to be an effective and sensitive therapist. Indigenous Cultures are found all over the globe and we can learn a great deal from their teachings and tools. One such tool is the Medicine wheel, which is a multidimensional native and ancient tool which focuses on the balance between all aspects of a being and their experiences: Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Mental. Each quadrant is equally important and evolves according to life stages, as well as being accompanied by rituals and ceremonies linked to the fulfilment of life experiences and achieving wellness. For each version of the Medicine Wheel, connectedness to one’s Spirit and Nature is key, as is family and community. Maria Huerta (Indigenous to Mexico) and Sophia Labonte (Canadian born) are Canadian therapists who have been working with Indigenous Communities in an Urban setting for over 15 years. Drawing on their experience with Indigenous clients they will demonstrate how native tools and strategies can complement and enhance all phases of the EMDR protocol with children and adolescents, particularly the preparatory phase, addressing safety and readiness for processing and the processing phase, where important cultural aspects may need to be curated. This workshop will provide culturally appropriate tools for working with children & adolescents in EMDR that may be from different cultures and traditions. It will enable EMDR therapists working with children and adolescents to learn to be more innovative and more creative in their work through the use of culturally appropriate tools such as the Indigenous Medicine Wheel.

Aims and Learning Objectives: Please click here

Sophia Labonte, M.A.
Registered Psychotherapist

Sophia trained in psychology and education prior to completing her Masters in Counselling Psychology and going on to train in EMDR, EFT, PACT, CBT, DBT and Theraplay. Sophia is based in Ontario, Canada, and has been working with the Indigenous population in Toronto for over 14 years, within the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto as a Children’s Mental Health Worker/ Clinical Worker. Sophia also has a varied independent practice, providing parenting classes and specialising in couples and trauma work with all ages. Alongside her client work, Sophia has taught counselling methods at George Brown College and offers various clinical workshops to non-profit agencies.  Sophia has a special interest in developing and providing culturally appropriate and sensitive services. She has attended numerous trainings in Cultural Renewals and Teachings from Elders and has incorporated these learnings into her clinical practice. This has enabled her to integrate an understanding of cultural needs within and alongside taking a trauma-informed approach to her practice. She is passionate about helping people reach their goals of self-fulfilment and believes in empowering with kindness and positive regard. She is eager to share the wealth of her knowledge based on years of experience working with Indigenous people, in order to enlighten other therapists to consider integrating holistic practices within their therapeutic work with clients.


Maria Huerta

Maria Huerta is an Indigenous Mexican who has resided in Canada for over 17 years and has contributed extensively to the mental health field in different capacities. Maria is a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, Canada and has a Masters in Education. She has worked at the University of Zacatecas in Mexico as a counsellor and also as a University Professor for the School of Psychology, teaching a range of courses in Psychology and Neuropsychology and also training staff in organizational psychology, alongside managing her own private practice. Following a move to Canada in 2004, Maria has worked as a Family Therapist and supervisor at The Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST). Maria has completed additional trainings in addictions, trauma assessment and treatment, EMDR, CBT, DBT, IFS, IFOT (Indigenous Specific), Couples Counseling and Family Therapy. Maria is proud of her Native Ancestry and brings her professional preparation and experience to the service of the Native Community and other Cultural Groups who can benefit from her approach. Maria is passionate about mental health and its connections to all aspects of a whole being and is supporting the training of EMDR for all of her staff, given the value that she has seen with Indigenous children and adolescents and their families.