About Us

As the field of understanding about trauma evolved, we’ve been able to provide help for a lot of people we couldn’t help before. We now know how to deal with PTSD and all other effects of trauma, including Dissociative Identity Disorder. The research on the brain has begun to unlock the mystery of how our emotions get processed and ways we can free the body and brain from remembered trauma. One of the main tools we use is known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR. The Trauma Institute of Virginia offers an array of professional development programs to practitioners looking to improve their knowledge and therapeutic skills in the treatment of trauma-related disorders.

With the techniques we have now, and with the understanding of the importance of a healing relationship, we can mend the places that have been broken from trauma. Now there is hope for every single one of us. Therapy is our way out of our troubles, no matter how big or how small they may be. Our EMDR training courses are offered in person, through webinars, and through supervision arrangements. If you would like more information about any of the topics below, including training dates and registration guidelines, then please contact us.

  • EMDR Supervision
  • Supervision Training for MSWs to be Licensed
  • Using EMDR to Treat DID and Complex Trauma, I, II, III, IV

Meet Onnie Baldwin, LCSW

Director, The Trauma Institute of Virginia

In the 1970s, I was married to a Vietnam vet. I once found pictures of dead Vietnamese in drawers in the bedroom and our office. One day, I found guns hidden away in the bedroom closet, wrapped in some kind of material underneath a stack of sweaters. I was often awakened in the night by my husband, who was sound asleep and kneeling over me with his fist drawn back, ready to punch me in the face. I screamed and woke up. I found a therapist for us to go to. We were in therapy for at least two years when I discovered a whole new world for myself that unlocked so much of what I had hidden away about who I was and who I wanted to be.

They weren’t parts of myself I had known before. I sat with a therapist who listened to me with his heart and who walked me through feelings I had tried so hard to suppress. Every time I thought I had gotten rid of them, they’d show up again. I learned to cherish my feelings. I learned that the bad things I felt about life, others, or myself were there for a reason. I learned to honor them the same way my therapist did. As I sat with my feelings, I watched them change and grow. My life changed by learning how to handle them, when to act on them, and when to learn from them.

Sadly, we didn’t know about PTSD back then. We were just barely beginning to understand what our soldiers were going through once they got back to normal life, but it would be a while before we developed the means to deal with PTSD and other effects of trauma. I left my husband because he wasn’t learning and growing the way I was. A whole new world of thoughts, feelings, and actions opened up to me and I wanted to go out in the world and experience it. He wanted the woman he had married, so the marriage couldn’t work any longer. If the therapies that we have now had existed back then, then I might still be married to that man.

At that time, I was the Director of Development for a girls’ private school. I fell into the job and certainly looked the part, but I can’t say I was particularly good at it. By coincidence, my office was located in the middle school. This was back when everyone wore uniforms to private schools, and in girls’ schools that meant skirts and dresses. Somehow, the middle school girls decided my office was the place to hang out. They’d come in and lie on the floor on their backs with their legs bent upward and crossed with their hands under their heads. After they had been coming for a while and felt comfortable hanging out with me, they started telling me their troubles with their parents. I’d stop doing whatever I was doing to raise money and listen to what they had to say. I didn’t know exactly what to say, but I knew they needed to be heard and to have someone empathize with their feelings. So I listened. I empathized and let them know I had a real felt sense of them. I looked forward to my days at school, not because I was raising all kinds of money for the school, but because I knew that my listening and having them know they were heard was all I wanted to do.

A year later, I left that job and started a Master’s in Education because I thought I wanted to teach in order to be able to spend important time with young people. The first class I took was The Psychology of Education. Then I knew it was psychology – not education – that interested me. Through the combination of my experience with the little girls in the private school, taking a course in the Psychology of Education, and my own therapy, I knew I wanted to help others liberate themselves from old feelings that caused them to be locked away inside their own bodies the way I had been. I wanted to listen to others the way my therapist had listened to me and to help them change their lives in whatever way they wanted to live in a life that was true to who they were.

Contact our staff to learn more about our EMDR training program. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, our program is available to clients around the world.