EMDR Training Outline


A complete Accredited EMDR Training consists of three components, Introductory workshop, Advanced workshop, 10 hours Consultation.  This training significantly exceeds the EMDR Association of Australia Curriculum in terms of didactic content and practicum (experiential) learning requirements.   Consultation (supervision) is covered in the course fee, not an additional extra as is the case with all other Australian trainings. 

Prior to attending either of the workshops there is a significant amount of material to cover, in order that you arrive at the workshop already having a good  understanding of the underlying theory and principles of EMDR.  That means a minimum of didactic teaching in the workshop, and the time can be spent learning experientially, through a series of small group (N=2 or 3) structured exercises where you “learn by doing”.  More experiential learning results in greater practical competence and confidence in doing EMDR therapy.

Pre workshop preparation

When you register you will receive access to a large body of information (over 100 MB), including chapters, published papers, lectures and video links.  For the Introductory workshop you need to allow at least 10 hours to complete this material.  For the Advanced workshop, allow five hours.   Both workshops proceed on the assumption that you have covered this material.

Introductory workshop (3 days)

Workshops start promptly at 9.00, and finish at 5.00

Day 1

Adaptive Information Processing in the theoretical foundation to EMDR. You will have a good knowledge of AIP from your preworkshop preparation.  The workshop commences with two exercises, in pairs, using a systematic set of questions to rapidly elicit a memory network around a positive event and a negative event.

Affect Bridge and Floatback are two assessment strategies often used in EMDR (and Schema Therapy, where they named differently) to elicit memories linked by either affect or meaning.  We practice both of these strategies in pairs.

Assessment strategies.  We review a range of these including the Adult Attachment Interview Protocol, Adverse Childhood Events, Multimodal assessment, top 10 memories, Dissociative Experience Scale, and others.

Procedural Preparation.  Straightforward PTSD clients require minimal preparation.  We practice this in pairs.   More complex clients may require considerable preparation involving stabilisation and resourcing.  We explore these strategies on Day 3.

The mechanics of Eye Movements.  The eye movements traditionally used in EMDR need to tax working memory.  There are some subtleties to the technique that we practice in triads.

Target Assessment.     This is where we choose a particular memory to target for processing, and elicit Negative and Positive Beliefs that meet precise criteria.  This is often the trickiest part of EMDR for the therapist, and we practice this skill extensively in triads.

Phases 4 – 7.  We review these, then practice them extensively in triads.  By the end of the day one day you will have “treated” your first two clients, using detailed vignettes taken from actual clinical sessions.

Day 2

Questions from Day 1

Abreactions.  Strong emotions can arise in EMDR, as with any trauma focused therapy.  We practice strategies to hold clients in order to get through the abreaction without the client either associating or stopping processing.  Different strategies are practised in pairs for moderate level distress, and high level distress.

Blocked processing.  Sometimes clients can stop processing.  We practice a range of strategies to handle this situation.

Prepare for the afternoon practicum.  In triads, every person shares the memory of a mildly distressing event and elicits an appropriate negative and positive belief that meets criteria for use in EMDR.

Live demonstration.  The trainer demonstrates a complete EMDR session with a volunteer from the group.

Practicum (3 hrs) .  In triads, you rotate through the roles of client, therapist and observer, as you conduct your first EMDR therapy session.  Your work is closely supervised by an Accredited Consultant.

Day 3

Questions from Day 2

Re-evaluation.  Following any session in which processing has been done, the therapist must re-evaluate the work, in order to decide where to go next.  Memories are processed in the order of past, recent, and anticipated future.  Re-evaluation is practised in the same triads as the practicum on Day 2.

Incomplete sessions.  Sometimes clients don’t fully a memory in one session, so you need to know how to contain unresolved material and ground the client.  These skills are practices in pairs.

Stabilising and Resourcing.  There are many ways to resource clients who present with more dysregulated emotions.  Some are commonly used by therapists, e.g. DBT.  There are other strategies unique to EMDR.  We practice several of these in pairs.

Protocols.  We review the range of protocols supplied in your training materials for a wide range of clinical issues.

Prepare for the afternoon practicum.  In triads, every person shares the memory of a mildly distressing event and elicits an appropriate negative and positive belief that meets criteria for use in EMDR.  The range of suitable targets extends to include phobias.

Practicum (3 hrs).  In triads, you rotate through the roles of client, therapist and observer, as you conduct your second EMDR therapy session.  Your work is closely supervised by the Trainer or an EMDRAA Accredited Consultant.

Starting EMDR.  We consider how to best get started doing EMDR immediately following this workshop.

Supervision arrangements and the accreditation pathway provided by the EMDR Assn of Australia are discussed.

Advanced workshop 2 days

After if you have attended some Consultation sessions and conducted sufficient EMDR sessions to be well versed with the standard protocol, you can attend the Advanced workshop.  Generally, aim to have done a minimum of 10-15 sessions, over 5 clients.

Workshops start promptly at 9.00, and finish at 5.00

Day 1

Workshop outline.  There are some topics which must be covered in the Advanced Workshop, but there is some scope to spend more time on topics of particular interest to trainees.

Advanced assessment strategies to cover clients with long-standing presentations that embody multiple negative and limiting beliefs.  In particular we explore strategies from Schema Therapy, as the concept of schema and Shapiro’s concept of neuro-networks are very similar.

Case conceptualisation for clients with complex presentations (Complex PTSD, Personality Disorder, Dissociative Disorders).

Advanced preparation strategies.  In pairs, you practice a range of advanced preparation strategies.

Non-standard variations.  We review a range of non-standard variations to the standard protocol, including the Processing Continuum (Keissling), Reverse Protocol (Adler-Tapia). In pairs you practice some of these.

Day 2

Interweaves.  This is a more therapist-active variant of the standard protocol, and we intensively practice a range of interweaves.  (3 hours)

Prepare for the afternoon practicum.  In pairs you prepare for the afternoon practicum by selecting three memories that have a common negative belief, and use the Stacking the Deck protocol on an appropriate positive belief.

Practicum.  In pairs you conduct an EMDR session in which you practice the above variations, in order to rapidly process multiple memories in the one session.

Supervision arrangements and the accreditation pathway provides by the EMDR Assn of Australia are discussed.

Case consultation

Trainees can access on-line small group consultation prior to either workshop to ask questions arising from the preworkshop material.  After each workshop trainees have access to online supervision sessions.  The fee for this service is included in your workshop registration.  Trainees who register for either the Introductory or Advanced workshops as a standalone training can access these sessions for 6 weeks after each workshop.

Trainees who register for the Comprehensive package have unlimited access for 12 months.  This provides ample opportunity for trainees to move to the next level of EMDR proficiency, Accredited Practitioner.  See EMDR Australia website for more details.  www.emdraa.org