The alphabet soup of degrees, licenses, and various organizations related to all things EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is confusing to be sure, but it is imperative that you review your therapist’s level of training.
As I have addressed before, contrary to popular belief, EMDR is not an intervention, but rather a full and comprehensive modality, one that includes eight phases, each phase with its distinct functionality, process, and methods. An EMDR therapist will approach your case, treatment goals, and your progress through the eyes of that model as it were. EMDR is a way of conceptualizing what you are working on, how your arrived at the symptoms you want to change, and what you want the future to look like.
Knowing your EMDR therapist’s training level will also enable you to determine their experience and knowledge base regarding this modality. While this information may be a little dry, it will give you the tools to ask what you need to of a potential EMDR therapist. You will know what your therapist means when he or she tells you what their level of training is. Remember, most of all, look for someone who has attended an EMDRIA Approved Training.
Prior to 2007, the EMDRIA standards for EMDR Basic Training came in the form of an independent two-part training model. EMDR therapists who are trained prior to 2007 would, therefore, identify having been trained at Level One or Level Two. Each workshop took a weekend to complete and in contrast to the current training standard, did not include any consultation hours in between trainings. The EMDR therapist was trained in EMDR and able to identify him or herself as being EMDR trained with just the Level One training, as the Level Two training was not required. Nevertheless, please keep in mind that being Level Two EMDR trained was strongly recommended. From a client’s perspective, Level Two heightened the EMDR therapist’s understanding, provided him or her with additional tools within the EMDR model, and provided skills for processing more complex trauma cases. If your EMDR therapist chose to complete both trainings, he or she would have completed 34 training hours in EMDR.
After 2007, as I previously mentioned in last week’s article, the EMDRIA training standards for EMDR practitioners evolved. What was once Level One and Two EMDR training became a Basic Training model, one that required the completion of both independent trainings in order to identify oneself as having completed the Basic Training that now constitutes 50 total training hours. The lecture and supervised practice portions are conducted over two weekends at 20 hours each weekend. What this also means for you is that your therapist can start using EMDR after Part I, and is encouraged to, while their Basic Training is still in process.
Furthermore, as part of this 50-hour Basic Training, and to receive a formal Certificate of Completion the therapist must also complete a total of 10 documented consultation hours. Five hours must be conducted after the first weekend, and the final five after the second weekend.
For those seeking to refine their knowledge and utilization of EMDR, there is an option of becoming an EMDRIA Certified In EMDR. Essentially, the goal of the certification process is for the EMDR therapist to demonstrate fidelity to the EMDR protocol and increase his or her knowledge, expertise, and experience with the modality.
To become certified EMDRIA requires that a clinician who is EMDRIA Certified in EMDR has been licensed or certified in their profession for independent practice and has had a minimum of two years experience in their field. They have completed an EMDRIA approved training program in EMDR, have conducted a minimum of fifty clinical sessions in which EMDR was utilized, and have received twenty hours of consultation in EMDR by an Approved Consultant. In addition they must complete twelve hours of continuing education in EMDR every two years.
Working with a Consultant
The EMDR therapist seeking certification completes those 20 consultation hours with someone called an EMDRIA Approved Consultant in EMDR. Or, an EMDRIA Approved Consultant In Training can provide 15 consultation hours, and an EMDRIA Approved Consultant completes the remaining 5.
As an individual seeking EMDR therapy, think of an EMDR Consultant as one who helps EMDR therapists further enhance and assure their understanding of EMDR. To be classified as such, an EMDRIA Approved Consultant must already be EMDRIA Certified, have a minimum of three years experience with EMDR after completion of Basic Training, and have conducted at least 300 EMDR sessions. In addition, the Consultant must continue to obtain at least 12 CEUs, specific to EMDR, every two years.
Whew! Now, keep in mind, you may also run across someone who, on top of being an EMDRIA Approved Consultant in EMDR, is also EMDRIA Institute Facilitator, EMDRIA Approved Training Provider or EMDR HAP Trainer. EMDRIA Facilitators or HAP Trainers conduct and facilitate the actual Basic Training that therapists must complete to begin their EMDR journey. In addition to actually conducting the training, they also provide the consultation hours that are required in between the Part I and Part II of the Basic Training. For those completing the Basic Training through HAP an EMDRIA Approved Consultant or Consultant In Training can conduct those consultation hours in between Part I and Part II.
So, that all being said, I know it can be very confusing. But, I hope that this article has given you an idea of what those EMDR training levels mean! Best of luck to you as you travel your healing journey.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.