Overcoming clinicians fear of using EMDR therapy: Practical Steps for Success

Overcoming clinicians’ fear of using EMDR therapy: Practical Steps for Success

Andrew M. Leeds
Director of Training, Sonoma Psychotherapy Training Institute, Santa Rosa, California

This article can be downloaded as a PDF free of charge

EMDR therapy can be intimidating for newly trained clinicians. This article addresses common fears that may hinder clinicians from implementing standard EMDR reprocessing procedures and provides practical steps to overcome these challenges.

Three Common Fears
Three common fears can inhibit newly EMDR trained clinicians from using standard EMDR reprocessing procedures. These are:
1) The fear of leaving the client more disturbed (worsening symptoms) than before reprocessing.
2) The fear of the clinician experiencing vicarious traumatization from exposure to aspects of the client’s memory.
3) The fear of not being able to adequately use standard EMDR therapy procedures.


Recognizing and caring for those with dissociative disorders

Recognizing and caring for those with dissociative disorders:

An essential element of basic training in EMDR

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Due to the significant risks of adverse unintended effects in offering standard EMDR therapy procedures to those with unrecognized dissociative disorders, screening for the presence of a dissociative disorder is widely recognized as an essential element of EMDR therapy (Leeds 2016, p. 51, pp. 102-103; Paulsen, 1995; Shapiro, 2001, pp. 103-104, pp. 441-445).

Curiously there is no explicit mention of or standards for this training element in the EMDRIA basic training curriculum (EMDRIA, 2015). Among different providers of basic training in EMDR therapy there is wide variation in how issues are addressed regarding education, training and consultation on the nature of or screening for dissociative disorders. While total training cost, convenience of scheduling and completion rate are often top considerations when recommending or considering course selection, it is also important to find out how providers deal with helping participants with the complex cases that constitute the greater part of their caseloads.


Spring 2012 Basic Training in EMDR

Our next EMDR International Association approved basic training in EMDR begins February 11, 2012, at the Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa in Santa Rosa. The early registration discount remains open until January 5, 2012. As with our previous trainings, participants will be traveling to Santa Rosa from throughout the SF Bay area because of their attraction to the unique SonomaPTI EMDR basic training model.