The Best EMDR Training: 7 Features to Look for in 2024

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Mental health clinicians strive to bring their clients strategies for healing and wellness that result in longstanding and pervasive treatment gains.  When trying to heal trauma, anxiety, depression, and more, EMDR therapy has quickly become an industry standard due to the impact it has had on countless individuals seeking healing from their mental health concerns.  

Learning EMDR therapy opens up new avenues for treatment that are practice-changing and empowering for clinicians. Before being trained in EMDR, many therapists feel at a loss for how to provide relief to their clients or have to refer their clients to other clinicians already trained in the therapy. However, when considering EMDR therapy training options, these same clinicians may feel overwhelmed in trying to discern the best training options that will be comprehensive, easy to digest, and also affordable.  

How do you know which is the best EMDR training to choose? 

Every therapist has different learning styles, budgets, and clinical circumstances to consider. While it’s important to find a course that suits your learning style, it’s equally critical to select a training that has the features you’ll need to learn comprehensive EMDR therapy. We believe you should learn from a program that helps you integrate the treatment into your clinical setting effectively and understand broad applications with various clients. We like to say that we want you to understand “why you are doing what you are doing with EMDR” and as such, want you to be able to apply it to a broad range of cases.

Here, we’ll walk you through:

  • What EMDR training is
  • The differences between the options for  online vs. in-person EMDR training
  • Key features of the best EMDR training

What Is EMDR Training? 

EMDR training is your first step toward becoming an EMDR Certified Therapist, which is the standard for the field. Generally speaking, trainings run anywhere from five to eight days and often are held in two or three-day increments that are spaced out over a period of time.   

Training formats vary widely as to what is included during the time at the training and whether or not the training meets the standards set forth by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA).  Although certain content is required if the program is EMDRIA-approved, additional content also varies from training to training.     

Ultimately, your EMDR training should lay a solid foundation for practicing EMDR. You will need to be able to apply what you learn in training to help your clients heal from a myriad of mental health issues, so it is important not to settle for anything less than a comprehensive program.

EMDR Training In-Person vs. Online

One of the options clinicians are considering is whether to take online or in-person training.  Both options are excellent, and both provide amazing opportunities to learn, practice, and apply the therapy. Our founder was one of the authors of EMDRIA’s Virtual EMDR Therapy Guidelines and spent significant time working on their Board of Directors to establish guidelines for effective online and in-person EMDR training standards. Each format has its strengths, and good training will shine in either setting.

In-person EMDR training is a great way to connect with other mental health professionals in your area. On the other hand, virtual training can be a convenient option because you eliminate the need for commuting, making it more accessible for many professionals with an active practice or a busy personal life. Many therapists also find virtual training to be appealing due to the increased privacy during the breakout sessions, when you are practicing EMDR in triads.  

6 Characteristics of the Best EMDR Training in 2024

Regardless of whether in-person or virtual training is right for you, there are many EMDR trainings available, but they aren’t all created equal. While it’s important to find a trainer you trust and a format with which you can eagerly engage, it’s also essential that the content of the training sets you up for a successful practice. 

In our more than ten years offering EMDR training (and our several decades practicing it), we’ve found that the best EMDR training has several key components: 

1. EMDRIA Approval

    EMDRIA sets the standards for EMDR practice and EMDR training. As such, they accredit specific in-person and virtual EMDR trainings based on substantial criteria that trainers and training curricula must meet.

    Though you may find non-EMDRIA-approved training with intriguing course materials, an experienced trainer, or an affordable price, looking for the EMDRIA seal of approval ensures the training you take is trustworthy, up-to-date, and recognized by the global EMDR community.  

    It is important to note that taking training that is not EMDRIA-approved will not lay the foundation for you to become EMDR Certified or an EMDRIA Approved Consultant down the line. To achieve those credentials, you must take an EMDRIA Approved EMDR Basic Training.

    2. A Rigorous Course Schedule

      The best EMDR training should be comprehensive and also offer resources once you’ve completed it. EMDR is complex, so any course that seems too brief is unlikely to give you the foundation you need. 

      Courses should take at least five to eight days, and add up to 50 or more hours of active training time—plus provide extra guides, articles, or tools you can review on your own time. EMDRIA requires that there be a minimum of 20 hours of lecture, 20 hours of practice time, and 10 hours of consultation, but that the consultation portion may be accrued outside of time at the training.   Our training exceeds the requirements set forth by EMDRIA, with 30 hours of lecture, 24 hours of practice time, and 10 hours of consultation that takes place during time at the training. 

      3. A Pod Structure

      Think back to some of your most memorable learning experiences. Were you reading a textbook in a room by yourself, or were you collaborating with like-minded peers to refine your collective expertise? Chances are, it’s the latter, and the best EMDR training should be no different. 

      While you’ll undoubtedly spend countless hours refining your practice, what makes EMDR training even more enjoyable is connecting with other mental health professionals. Consider looking for a training that leverages smaller group structures within the training, allowing you to move through training with colleagues who support each other during the learning process. This fosters group trust and creates a more intimate training environment so you feel comfortable being vulnerable and asking questions. 

      4. Rich Content and Resource Libraries

        EMDR Basic Training lays the foundation upon which to build your EMDR expertise. Basic EMDR training is only the first of many stops on your EMDR journey. To that end, you should expect your trainer to create value during training and outside of training helping you to understand the road map for achieving success and expertise with EMDR therapy.

        Good EMDR training should also include a rich content library. Some resources may provide more detail on a topic you covered in training, while others may dive into areas you have yet to explore. Continuous learning is essential to being an effective EMDR clinician, so look for training with the content library to support you. 

        5. Consultations and Break-Out Rooms

          Instruction is central to EMDR therapy, but all EMDRIA Approved EMDR Basic Training includes a requirement for consultation and practice. Many trainings require that participants seek the needed consultation outside of training time between modules, but there is tremendous value to receiving that consultation during the training time. 

          Consultation during training will track closely with the material being taught and the pace of learning, creating an optimal experience. 

          6. Seamless Path to EMDR Certification

            Most therapists seek training because they ultimately want to gain an EMDR certification. Though you can practice EMDR without it, EMDR certification tells your clients that you have trained according to industry standards and care deeply about the quality of therapy you provide.

            After completing an EMDRIA Approved EMDR Basic Training, the next step to certification is 20 hours of post-training consultation, at least 50 hours practicing EMDR with at least 25 different clients, and 12 hours of EMDRIA Approved advanced training hours. 

            The Best EMDR Basic Training

            We believe that the best EMDR basic training is one that prepares you to apply EMDR to a variety of clients facing distinct mental health challenges. Crafted based on decades of our own experience, our EMDRIA Approved EMDR Basic Training is rigorous yet digestible, offering exactly what you need to successfully practice EMDR in a format you can tailor to your unique practice setting and learning style.

            Learn more about our EMDR Basic Training and register for our next cohort — our training fills fast! 

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