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:
An essential element of basic training in EMDR
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.