As I began to use EMDR more and more, I learned that it can be conducted in a group format with hundreds of people at one time! It was originally designed as a rapid response intervention for man-made and natural disasters. It has since been expanded to be used with first responders, cancer patients and other groups with collective trauma experiences. I thought the group EMDR format would be perfect for using with refugee populations because they are such communal societies. 

How did you end up in Reno?

Dr Ignacio Jarero

Mexico City

Thanks for talking with us, Kelly! Please tell us about your practice.

What influenced you to pursue a degree in Social Work? 

What's the latest thing you're working on that you're excited about? 

My background is in refugee resettlement working with people from Myanmar, Iraq, Bhutan, Eritrea, and Vietnam. Originally from Baltimore, I moved to North Carolina for college and stayed there for 6 years working in nonprofit work with refugees while my husband was pursuing a medical degree. During that time, I realized that many of the refugees coming to the U.S. were experiencing freedom for the first time in decades, but many of them were still emotionally in bondage, with few resources for mental health services. That’s when I decided to pursue my Masters in Social Work. 

Brandon, Kelly's husband says she's

"thoughtful, adventurous and bold." 

I think we agree!

Click here > Organization: EMDRIA

Click here > Organization: HAP

Click here > About Francine Shapiro, PhD, originator of EMDR

Click here > Healing Trauma VIDEO

Click here > Animation VIDEO about EMDR

Click here > VIDEO of Actual EMDR reprocessing

Click here > VIDEO of Complex Trauma Explanation and Treatment

Kelly working with domestic violence

survivors  in Bangladesh

 Kelly with EMDR therapists in India

In the past year, I have traveled to Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India and Thailand to provide EMDR services to refugees and nonprofit workers abroad. Then in August 2018, my husband and I moved to Reno. My husband joined a medical practice in town. We are loving Reno! We enjoy skiing, hiking, biking, climbing and all the fun outdoor activities that Nevada offers. Brandon and I have been married for 12 years. I grew up in Baltimore, MD with my tow parents who still live there, along with my sister who lives in Brooklyn, NY and my brother who lives in the Philippines. 

I've noticed that an increasing number of therapists/counselors are getting trained in EMDR, and it sounds like that's what you did, right? Please tell our audience how that happened.  

 My husband, Brandon (pictured left) and I then moved to Denver for his residency while I pursed a MSW degree. During my master’s program, I realized that the majority of people coming into my office had a trauma history and I felt ill-equipped to handle it. This is when I became trained in EMDR therapy. Since then, I have been continually astounded by the effectiveness and rapid results of EMDR.

The focus of my practice is in using EMDR therapy to help resolve trauma for people with PTSD, anxiety, depression, or other ways in which their trauma is manifesting. I work with various populations, but have a special place in my heart for first responders/medical personnel and immigrant/refugee populations. 

One of my areas of specialty is conducting EMDR Intensives. This allows me to work with clients for 1-3 days in a row (all day with the same client). During this time, we do EMDR on multiple targets to allow the client to experience a lot of relief, very quickly, rather than having ongoing, weekly therapy. It’s not the best option for everyone, but for those who it is appropriate for, the intensive format tends to be a great option! 

Kelly Smyth-Dent, LCSW

Cool Resources for you to know

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After I was trained by the co-founder of the group EMDR protocol, Dr. Ignacio Jarero, I began conducting research with him and his team in Mexico. Since then, he has become my mentor and business partner. We work together to scale up EMDR by training EMDR therapists in his 4 EMDR advanced protocols and procedures. We conduct research around the globe on his EMDR protocols and offer helpful resources and community forums for EMDR therapists to scale up their own EMDR work. To learn more, click

One of Kelly's favorite quotes:

Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.”

- Prentis Hemphill 

A non profit organization, dedicated to providing resources and educational workshops to mental health professionals in nevada.



Mental Health Peer Connections

June 2019