Frequently Asked Questions


What is EMDR?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapeutic approach that emphasizes the role of the brain's information processing system. Current problems, not caused by organic deficit or insult, are conceptualized as the result of inappropriately processed memories of disturbing experiences. EMDR is an eight phase, three pronged protocol that addresses the experiences underlying current problems and those that need to be dealt with to bring the client to a robust state of psychological health.

The heart of EMDR involves the transmutation of these dysfunctionally stored experiences into an adaptive resolution that promotes psychological health. As with any therapeutic approach, after we learn the fundamentals, we spend a lifetime perfecting our practice. With EMDR, there is an art to the application.

What is the "Art" of EMDR?

The heart of EMDR involves the transmutation of these dysfunctionally stored experiences into an adaptive resolution that promotes psychological health. The Art of EMDR is attunement to the client, resonating, and providing optimal bi-lateral stimulation to maximize processing.

Optimal processing is evidenced by verbal and non-verbal indicators of processing. While doing bi-lateral stimulation, there is a dance that develops between client and therapist, and in EMDR, the dance is made more intricate with the use of dual attention stimuli.

What are some of the intricacies of this dance?

Every client processes differently. There is an art to reading the signs of processing to know:

  • When processing is/isn't happening
  • When to stop and restart the dual attention stimuli
  • When to modulate the intensity of the affect or reprocessing up or down
  • When containment is needed
  • When a client needs more dual attention
  • When to change modality/speed/direction/pressure of the dual attention stimuli
  • When to use more of your presence to assist the dual attention

This art has to be practiced, fine-tuned, assimilated and integrated into your clinical practice.

Is this an experiential workshop?

Yes. The philosophy of this workshop is the art is learned most effectively through practice rather than didactically. Nearly 70% of the workshop is spent in groups of 2 or 3 where you will use personal material as you rotate the roles of therapist, client and observer. These actual sessions will be observed and facilitated by workshop instructors. You will receive live and immediate feedback to help you fine tune your skills.

Will there be videos or live demonstrations?

Yes. There will be a live demonstration each day, and sometimes these sessions will be videotaped, which then become teaching tools. The clients in these demonstrations are workshop participants who use personal material, and are chosen based on the learning needs of the group.

What will I learn at the workshop?

As this is an advanced training, it is expected that you know the basics. There will be advanced learning on the following topics:

  • Case Conceptualization and target selection to maximize treatment outcome
  • Resource Development and Installation to enhance and assess EMDR readiness
  • Negative and Positive Cognition Selection
  • Recognizing Signs of Processing
  • Attuning and calibrating the dual attention stimuli to maximize reprocessing yet controlling its intensity to meet client needs (the dance)
  • Working with complex trauma and the patterns of resolution
  • Working with blocked processing
  • Clinical Containment Issues
  • Knowing when to interweave or "stay out of the way"
  • Consolidating Treatment Gains

How much EMDR experience do I need to attend this workshop?

The only requirement is completion of an EMDRIA approved EMDR Basic Training program. Participants range in their EMDR experience. There will be clinicians who are new to EMDR and clinicians who have had years of experience, including Approved Consultants and Trainers, and everyone in between. You will be paired with participants with a similar level of experience in your practicum group. The workshop organizer will talk with you at registration to make sure this workshop is a good fit for you.

Will I need to prove that I have completed an EMDRIA approved Basic EMDR training?

Yes. A copy of your Certificate of Completion is required at registration.

I haven't used my EMDR skills in a long time. Is this workshop appropriate?

Yes. There will be other people like you. The workshop organizer will work with you to assess your needs and perhaps suggest ways to brush up on the steps of the Standard Protocol prior to the workshop.

Do I have to attend the entire workshop?

Yes. As this is an experiential workshop that requires your attendance for others to also be able to practice, full attendance is required.

What can I work on while I'm a client in the practicum group?

This is completely up to you. You can expect approximately 3 hours in the role of a client over the course of the 4 days. The workshop instructors are careful to create a safe environment for you to go as deep as you need to go as client. Your therapist will be closely observed and assisted by workshop instructors to provide you good treatment. The workshop is deliberately 4 days in length so you can accomplish significant work.

Is it a requirement that I be a client in the practicum group?

No. If you choose to not be a client, you will spend all your time as a therapist or observer.

How large is the workshop?

Typically the size of the workshop is no larger than 18. The size is deliberately kept small to maximize individualized learning and maintain the highest possible quality of supervision and practicum facilitation.

Can I take this workshop more than once?

Yes. In fact, many people do. Fine tuning and perfecting your skills is a lifetime process. Past participants find the benefits in the depth of their knowledge, skills, and confidence as an EMDR therapist are so great as a result of attending this workshop that they return for more.