What are key questions I should ask when looking for an EMDR Therapist?
In an earlier blog, I talked about EMDR therapy, what it is, the process, and areas of focus it has been shown to be successful with. If you believe EMDR is the right approach to reach the goals that you’re wanting to reach in therapy, the next step is finding an EMDR therapist. An EMDR therapist that’s going to be the right fit for you, and the right fit for your goals. That’s what I want to talk about today. 5 Questions to ask when you’re looking for an EMDR Therapist. Let’s start with number one,
1. What is your training and experience with EMDR? Are you a certified EMDR Therapist?
The basic training of EMDR is exactly that, basic training. We’re learning the approach, the theory, and practicing the technique. It’s a very specific technique. It’s about two weekends and two separate consult groups that we, as EMDR therapists, go through.
BUT, not everybody that comes in our office is going to be the same. Everybody has their unique experiences, how they cope with those experiences, and at different stages with their experiences. It’s so important that as a therapist, you then learn what we call the “dance” of EMDR. How do you make it flexible and adjust for the person that’s sitting right across from you?
The certification process is beyond that basic training. It’s where we continue to receive either one-on-one consult with an approved EMDR consultant or in a group format while practicing EMDR and the application of it with our clients and getting feedback at the same time. It’s okay to ask a therapist what their training is, have they gone beyond the basic training, and are they certified.
The next of these questions you want to ask when looking for an EMDR therapist is,
2. Do you keep up with the EMDR skills that you’ve learned?
For example, I am a part of the EMDRIA Association, (EMDR International Association). The association requires a Certified EMDR therapist to complete an additional 12 credits of training and education in an area of EMDR that we want to focus on every two years. The focus is usually specific to the therapist’s niche and expertise. (For example, PTSD, Substance Abuse, Grief, etc.)
There are so many different, what we call, protocols to EMDR. Is your therapist keeping up with those changes and keeping up on those special skills that they could use with EMDR to best help clients?
It’s important to note here, that just because an EMDR is not certified, does not mean they’re not good at what they do. Not all therapists get certified but may receive on-going consultation and/or advanced training. Again, ask how long they have been practicing, what percentage do they apply the therapy with clients, and how have been the results.
If you have been diagnosed with complex trauma, it will be important to ask,
3. Do you have experience with complex trauma?
It really does take some advanced training, and experience in consultations when working with complex trauma. If you are coming in to specifically focus on this, it’s an important question. How many clients have they worked with a diagnosis of complex trauma? What have been the results? What are the differences compared to other standard protocols of EMDR?
The next question I added because a few weeks ago, a client came in and asked me this question. I never would’ve thought of it. I thought it was a great question because it gets to the personal side of the therapist. You can read their passion for doing this type of work. The question was,
4. What made you (the therapist) decide to learn EMDR and how has it been for you as a therapist?
Again, a really great question. For me, the reason that I personally decided to be trained in EMDR is because before I was even in private practice, I was working with human-trafficking victims. As well as other areas. I really enjoyed seeing the transformation of clients who have experienced trauma and seeing them overcome the effects of trauma, within themselves, within their relationships, work relationships, and just their everyday life. I heard so many great things about EMDR and once I applied it, it was just amazing.
I’ve been using EMDR therapy as an approach for five years now. You would think that it wouldn’t be such a surprise to me every time I see a client’s transformation, but I still get chills. It’s just been a huge benefit for my clients.
I just cannot see not offering EMDR. It’s truly amazing.
Again, everybody comes in at a different stage, so it’s about adjusting the therapy to each person and not just stopping at EMDR.
Once you’ve done some EMDR work and things are feeling better for you, now what’s next?
*Do you need assertiveness skills?
*Do you need communication skills?
*Do you need how to say no and set boundaries?
EMDR is just a piece of the therapy. It’s not all the therapy. Which brings me to the last, but still important, question to ask an EMDR therapist,
5. Are there other therapies that you use besides EMDR?
This is going to be very important because, again, everybody comes in with different life experiences, and so they’re going to need different approaches. For me, I really enjoy incorporating mindfulness meditation techniques. I feel it goes along well with EMDR. I feel that they’re similar, it’s just that EMDR is much quicker. Mindfulness is not as quick but it’s a tool that you can use to prepare for EMDR, to use while you’re doing EMDR. It’s a tool that you take home with you, and you can continue to use it whenever you need it. It’s such an important knowledge to have when you’re working with overwhelming emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations.
I hope that if you decide EMDR may be the right fit for you, or if you’re still wanting to get an idea, ask if they’re willing to do a free consult with you. They can show you face to face or show you with a relaxation technique so you can get a better idea of the technique and process. If you have more questions, you’re welcome to click on my contact form. I’d be happy to talk with you more.