Why Becoming an EMDR Certified Therapist is Important

Becoming an EMDR Certified Therapist is now the well-known best practice standard for EMDR Trained clinicians  EMDR therapy is a multifaceted approach to treatment that incorporates an understanding of the way the neurobiological system responds to trauma, is designed to self- heal, and the way the nervous system regulates itself.  It takes into account several key components, including the client’s attachment style, any dissociative coping that is present, and the client’s mental model of the world.  The understanding of these areas, in addition to the clinician’s attunement and calming presence interplay with the issues the client is working through, creating an environment and process that fosters deep healing for the client.  The process of doing the EMDR therapy is an art form that takes time to master, and the difference between a clinician who has just completed EMDR Basic Training, and one who as become a Certified EMDR Therapist, is substantial.


There is depth to EMDR therapy and considerable layers for clinicians to learn as they hone their EMDR skills.  Really developing expertise in this field starts by completing Basic Training, following which the clinician in considered to be “EMDR Trained.”  Basic Training teaches the framework for EMDR and foundation for more advanced application of it into clinical practice.  The next step for clinicians is to develop their skill with the art of EMDR by continuing on to become an EMDR Certified therapist.  This process involves ongoing consultation for twenty hours, providing EMDR therapy to twenty five different clients for a total of at least fifty hours, and attending twelve hours of EMDRIA approved advanced trainings.  Clinicians pursuing certification must be licensed mental health clinicians by the time that they submit their application for certification to EMDRIA. 

The consultation toward certification that is provided by EMDR Center of the Rockies involves exploration of advanced topics, and a review of key points that need to be fully understood by EMDR Clinicians. In addition to this, consultants will review cases with the consultee, including near verbatim summaries of EMDR therapy sessions.  In some cases, a video sample of the work may be requested, when possible.  Otherwise, near verbatim sessions will suffice. 

EMDRIA requires that at least ten of the twenty hours be individual consultation.  A combination of group and individual consultation is what most clinicians choose, although some opt for solely individual consultation.  The benefit of group consultation time is that clinicians learn not only from their cases, but also from others’ cases.  Several near verbatim summaries may be reviewed in each group consultation session, in addition to exploration of questions and answers on advanced topics.  Individual consultation does a deeper dive into each of the cases with whom the clinician is using the EMDR therapy.  This is a more personalized consultation time, incorporating the skills that the clinician brings to the therapy from their previous work, and honing in on the appropriate integration of the EMDR framework. 

As one completes the EMDR Basic Training with new concepts and skills that are freshly learned, it is ideal to continue on toward certification at that time.  It is generally the case that when clinicians wait too long to get started with the certification process, some of the material learned in Basic Training has been forgotten, and some bad habits or inappropriate applications of EMDR may take hold.  Sometimes clinicians need a to take refresher course at that point prior to, or in conjunction with, beginning the consultation toward certification.  For some clinicians, a few hours of additional consultation time beyond the twenty hours may be necessary to ensure that they are confident and have a solid understanding of EMDR.   In addition to this, consultants want to identify that the consultee is able to implement the therapy into their practice in creative ways, with a variety of cases,  while still maintaining integrity to the protocol. 

As EMDR has become such a mainstream approach to therapy, it has grown rapidly in its popularity with most clinicians being trained in it at some point during their career.  In order to stand out as an exceptional EMDR Therapist, it is wise for clinicians to go beyond Basic Training to become an EMDR Certified Clinician, bearing the approval from EMDRIA as one who has continued with their work to become well versed in the field.