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  • Writer's pictureHannah Hamilton

Do I really need to be EMDR Certified?

Honestly, it depends.

In recent years, therapy and therapeutic training has become more monetized. Some of this is a result of living in a capitalistic society that focuses on profits and consumerism. At the same time, telehealth has expanded and has led to an increase in nation-wide, big box therapy providers. Finally, poor insurance reimbursement rates have left therapists looking for other ways to augment their income.

All of this together can feel like spending the time and money to become certified as just another expense and tool of gatekeeping (both valid concerns).

It can be helpful to understand why there is a “certified” status within EMDR Therapy. As EMDR Therapy is an effective and formulized therapy, there are aspects of practicing EMDR Therapy that can be easily applied. However, EMDR Therapy can get to the deep traumatic material and, when not practiced effectively, can retraumatize our clients. It is with these factors in mind that the certification process was created to protect clients and the integrity of EMDR Therapy.

Certification in the therapy world is not uncommon and can be found in many other modalities. The hope is that certification will demonstrate a provider has advanced understanding of the modality or population, providing a sense of comfort for individuals seeking care. Certification can also set providers apart from providers who have some training in a modality or population versus those with advanced study. The EMDR certification process is based on just that, with EMDR Consultants being tasked with ensuring the consultees understand the 8 Phases of EMDR Therapy, the Adaptive Information Processing Theory, and the 3-Pronged treatment plan in order to recommend them for certification.

Despite all these benefits, the certification process is still time-consuming and a financial investment and deciding if you will pursue certification is an individual decision.

Cues that may suggest EMDR certification is a helpful choice for you include:

  • EMDR resonates with you as a way you practice therapy versus a technique you may apply occasionally

  • You regularly work with trauma and use EMDR Therapy to treat trauma

  • Many individuals you serve have complex, interpersonal trauma

  • Individuals you serve have some level of dissociation (or you aren’t sure if they have dissociation)

  • You want to stand out in a field of EMDR-trained therapists

  • Becoming more involved in the EMDR community, including becoming a Consultant, is of interest to you

  • You see certification as “finishing” your EMDR training or there is a perfectionist part of you that is driven to succeed (no judgement, we live in a capitalistic society after all!)

Even if you look at that list and aren’t sure certification is your goal, consultation can support you in your sessions and with your outcomes. Please reach out to me to learn more about group and individual consultation!



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