The Value of EMDR Consultation

If you are newly trained

Now that you have completed your basic EMDR training, it’s time to consider hiring an EMDR consultant. It takes practice and support to build your confidence in applying the 8 phases of EMDR with your clients. Clients come in with all kinds of presenting problems, so how do you as their therapist develop a treatment plan that clearly addresses their symptoms, goals, and interventions with EMDR?

The information taught in the foundation EMDR four-day training is extremely valuable yet can be overwhelming initially. It’s difficult to fully integrate all the information that you have invested time and money to learn. Questions about: Have I collected both sufficient and the correct information during history-taking? How do I effectively explain EMDR to my clients when I’m just beginning to grasp what it is myself? When should I start installing a positive resource and which one should I utilize first? Which target memory should I focus on initially? What happen when I start processing and will I carry it out correctly? How should I handle my clients’ dissociation? What if I miss a step? How do I really know if all the memory channels are processed?

Presenting your cases to a consultant helps you to be more effective with your clients, and builds your confidence in your skills and instincts as an EMDR therapist. Whether you join a consultation group or meet individually with a consultant, the guidance you will receive is invaluable to your development as a solid, skilled, and effective EMDR therapist.

If you need consultation with a specific case

Each of us as a therapist – EMDR or not, highly experienced or not – needs objective consultation and perspective from time to time on our cases. The most expert EMDR trainers and authors readily acknowledge their consistent attendance in peer consultation groups or individual EMDR consultations. You and your clients benefit from an experienced EMDR consultant’s objective and supportive perspective. Every therapist occasionally needs an outside view point to arrive at a correct client diagnosis and goal setting, to managing structural dissociation, to client-therapist re-enactments.

If you decide to become a Certified EMDR Clinician

Once you have provided EMDR to a steady caseload of clients, you have no doubt experienced how truly life-changing EMDR is to them. You may have attended advanced EMDR trainings and read several books on different aspects of EMDR. Your professional identity has evolved into that of a dedicated EMDR therapist. Joining the organization of EMDR therapists around the world, EMDRIA, is an important step this evolution, something I highly recommend.

Becoming an EMDR Certified Clinician is an appropriate next step to develop your standing among other devoted EMDR therapists. Please read the section on the EMDRIA website on their requirements to become certified. The certification consultee is responsible for keeping track of the number of EMDR clients and sessions required for certification.

What to Expect From Your Certification Process with Me

First, you will receive a Certification Learning Checklist that describes my clinical biases and general expectations of the certification process. The checklist includes all of the tasks involved in each of the 8 phases, 3 prongs, and other aspects of EMDR processing such as cognitive interweaves. We will go through this checklist frequently as we move through the certification process. Certification consultation is very different from general case consultation in that it is organized around educating the consultee toward mastery of the 8-phases of EMDR. As the consultant, I take on a much more direct “do this, don’t do that” kind of role. I need to have my certification consultees show me every time they present a case how they took the case history, conceptualized the case, developed the treatment plan, and the goals for their clients’ treatment. Phases 3 and 4 expected to be described in detail, including the sets during the processing phase. I also require samples on my consultees’ work, either through video, audio, and/or transcription means.

EMDRIA requires 20 hours of certification consultation at a minimum. This means that if a consultee does not meet the certification standards at the end of 20 hours, the consultant can request additional hours of consultation to meet the standards. My approach to this situation is to discuss with the consultee well ahead of the end of the 20 hours my concerns about their skills and understanding of the EMDR therapy approach.

After a consultee has achieved the standards of becoming a Certified EMDR Clinician, I will gladly write a letter to the EMDRIA Standards committee recommending the consultee be awarded this status. 

Once you become a Certified EMDR Clinician, you will find that you have increased your skill and understanding level of EMDR therapy more than you ever thought you could. When you compare your deeper skills and understanding of the EMDR model to what you knew after your basic training, you will feel like it’s a night and day comparison. Your ability to help your clients will be greatly increased and that is what really counts on the most basic level. You can be very proud of yourself; you put in the hard work to get to this higher level of skill and knowledge.