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What is the Difference Between EMDR Training and Certification?

Explore EMDR Certification to develop your practice. Uncover the unique benefits with insights from The Center.

Mary French, BSN, MSW, LCSW-C, Center Faculty, Lead Basic Trainer

Navigating EMDR Therapy Certification and Training with The Center

Interested in becoming an EMDRIA-certified EMDR therapist? Basic EMDR training is a great beginning.  It’s a foundational course that outlines the precepts of this powerful and effective methodology.  It takes you through preparing the client, applying the procedural steps to identify and reprocess a memory, and how to evaluate the treatment effects of your work so you can determine your next steps.  It also gives you an overview of working with children and other special populations, as well as specific problems like working with phobias and panic disorders. However, it’s important to understand that EMDR training and EMDRIA-approved EMDR practitioner certification are different. Together, we will explore these differences. 


What is the Difference Between EMDR Training and Certification?

EMDR training refers to the educational process mental health clinicians undergo to learn EMDR therapy. On the other hand, EMDR certification is a formal recognition granted by EMDRIA to clinicians who have completed the approved training and met specific criteria outlined in the certification requirements. Certification signifies a higher level of proficiency and qualification in utilizing EMDR therapy in clinical practice.


And yet, one of the most common questions clinicians ask when they complete their EMDR training is, “Why work toward EMDR certification after I have completed my EMDR basic training?” However, the more important question is, “Do you want to be a technician, or do you want to work towards being a master clinician in EMDR therapy?”  In EMDR training practitioners learn the basic tools. EMDR certification allows them to apply EMDR therapy more effectively and confidently.  


Therapists who are trained in EMDR therapy are not necessarily proficient. 

Frequently, even after clinicians have taken EMDR training, they don’t integrate it into their work with clients because it’s hard to do well without additional training and consultation. They have already invested much time and money to learn the basics. Why not take it to the next level to skillfully implement and integrate this innovative and robust approach into your work with your clients?  You and your clients can both experience real change.  Working toward EMDR certification can make the difference between being trained in EMDR and using your EMDR training to transform your practice and clients' lives.


Certification involves individualized small groups and one-on-one consultation with a master clinician specifically suited to your client's cases.  You will refine your skills and increase your confidence to transition your practice.


Frequently Asked Questions About EMDR Training and Certification

  • I learned the Standard Protocol in my EMDR Training. I hear about other EMDR protocols out there.  Where do I learn when and how to modify the Standard Protocol? 

You are not alone.  The Basic EMDR training is basic.  When and how we make modifications comes from your in-depth knowledge of your client, the model, and your use of self as a therapist!  As one of my consultees said, you can't just find that in a notebook.  You will refine your skills and fine-tune your use of self when you work toward EMDR certification with The Center’s highly trained and experienced faculty.  Your ability to make clinical choices based on what is best for the client and not apply a cookbook recipe is what we strive for in our client-centered approach.


  • Will I see an increase in referrals once I am certified in EMDR therapy?

EMDR has gained a reputation for offering lasting change among the consumer public. Think of the recent publicity we have seen in the media about public figures like Prince Harry on  Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Bullock, Evan Rachel Wood, Whitney Cummings, and Jameela Jam discussing EMDR therapy.  This savvy population is looking for clinicians who are EMDR certified. This designation on websites with referral directories makes it easier for people to find you.  It also prepares you to help a broader spectrum of the population of clients who are looking for help.


  • So how do I bridge the gap between EMDR training and EMDR certification?

First, decide what your next step is.  You can take the Intermediate or one of the Advanced trainings to get started.  If you just want a sampler to help determine your next steps, the Advanced courses are usually 12 CE hours with little or no practice.  The Intermediate course is 30 CEs and is more of an investment. It’s a great next step for therapists who are eager to get really good at the craft of EMDR therapy with more complex trauma.


If you enjoy talking about your cases and doing well in a small group format, then EMDR Consultation at The Center is a must-try!  Our case consultation services are offered in groups of 4 or 6 and meet once monthly for two hours with one of our esteemed faculty.


Case consultation and additional training are required for EMDR certification.


As therapists, we want to give our clients the best. So, if you’re ready to up your game from being EMDR trained to being EMDR certified, join us at The Center