Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Author, Mental Health Therapist, Researcher, Expert in Attachment Trauma

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About Debra Wesselmann

headshot smallestI have had the privilege of working with adults, children, and families struggling with issues related to attachment and trauma for the past 29 years. I am an EMDR facilitator and consultant. I am on the editorial board for The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research. I am the author or co-author of several articles, chapters, and books. I have co-authored two chapters with Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., the founder of EMDR therapy. I have presented nationally and internationally and now offer trainings, along with my colleagues through our learning site.

The field has evolved a great deal since I first was licensed as a mental health practitioner, due to advances made in neuroscience, traumatology, and attachment research. It is my hope that this website will help promote continued thought, discussion, and new insights.

I have been married for 40 years and have children and grandchildren. I started my adult life as a schoolteacher and mother of three children and two step-children. The experience of bringing our middle daughter home from Korea at 2 ½ years of age in 1985 sparked the beginning of my quest to understand more about adoption, attachment, and trauma, and my decision to return to graduate school at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

In 1994 I attended a training in Denver that caused another cosmic shift in my work life.The training was in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a trauma treatment method that was discovered and developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. My experiences with the method after the training were so powerful that I eventually decided to continue on to become an EMDR facilitator, certified EMDR consultant, and regional EMDR coordinator, along with my good friend and colleague Ardi Schoonover. Although it was not a magic bullet, EMDR was the most effective modality for treatment I had come across, when combined with other sound methods–and the theoretical model supporting EMDR helped me make sense out of so many of the symptoms and behaviors with which my clients were struggling.

I continued learning everything I could about trauma and attachment and became inspired to write The Whole Parent: How to Become a Terrific Parent Even if You Didn’t Have One (Perseus, 1998) for parents with a traumatic or difficult past. (I am currently working on a second edition of this book.) Around 1998, I began providing trainings related to the treatment of attachment and trauma in children and adults, adoption, parenting, and the application of EMDR to attachment trauma, which included invited presentations at the Menninger Clinic, EMDRIA, The European EMDR Conferences in Rome, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Cologne, Madrid, and Holland, the Netherlands National EMDR Conference, and Costa Rica.

For fourteen years, I practiced at Therapy Resource Associates, in Omaha, with a wonderful group of professionals who played an enormous part in my professional and personal growth.Along the way, I became involved in research projects with my colleague Ann Potter, Ph.D. and Meghan Davidson, Ph.D. with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.I also continued writing articles and chapters.

In 2008, a group of like-minded colleagues and I founded a small, private center with the goal of developing and providing quality, effective treatment for children and adults impacted by attachment trauma.We currently have a group of twelve wonderful and skilled providers who also provide Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, couples, and family therapy.

Cathy Schweitzer, Stefanie Armstrong, and I have developed an integrative family therapy and EMDR team treatment that we have found effective in helping children with a history of orphanage and foster care who are exhibiting challenging behaviors. With assistance from Meghan Davidson Ph.D. at UNL, we completed an outcome study with 23 cases which we will be submitting for publication soon. Our book, Integrative Treatment for Attachment Trauma in Children: Family Therapy and EMDR is a clinicians guide for our model and Integrative Parenting: Strategies for Raising Children Affected by Attachment Trauma is the accompanying parent guide (W.W.Norton, 2014).

We have established a training institute through which we provide online and in person workshops to professionals and parents: WWW.ATCINSTITUTE.COM 




The Attachment and Trauma Center of Nebraska  638 North 109th Plaza, Omaha, NE 68154 PRIVATE PRACTICE SITE:







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