Phil Nottingham, EMDRAA & EMDR Europe Accredited Consultant and Chair EMDRAA Accreditation Committee, answers some questions on Accreditation.
I have read several definitions of accreditation and these are the key words and phrases which I favour:
“The act of granting credit or recognition”, “expertise, integrity and quality”. “A process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented.”
However, I do not think that I can improve on the excellent description used by EMDR Europe:
“EMDR Europe considers accreditation to be of extreme importance. In the acquisition and development of skill and knowledge an EMDR clinician moves from being an EMDR novice to hopefully achieving a high level of EMDR proficiency and expertise. One of the important ways of achieving this is through accreditation. Accreditation has many benefits:
- Maximises the teaching and learning experience of EMDR training.
- Ensures ethically sound and robust EMDR clinical practice.
- Enhances EMDR treatment fidelity.
- Monitors and maximises client/ patient protection.
- Enhances quality control.
- Greatly assists towards research fidelity.
I believe that accreditation is highly relevant to practitioners as a means of demonstrating their competence in using EMDR therapy.
It is important that the individual practitioner makes this decision but I hope the following points will be helpful:
Accreditation as an EMDR Practitioner is not required in order to practice EMDR therapy. However, we can all get into bad habits quite quickly after our initial basic training and / or get rusty and continue in the bad habits we have developed over the years. The accreditation process is an assessment of competence in using EMDR therapy, which picks up where and how we might be straying away from the protocol and best practice, and which ensures quality service for our clients.
The 10 hours of assessment for accreditation count as on-going professional development. Furthermore, consultation sessions for accreditation count towards CPD for registration with AHPRA and other organisations. Therefore, an increasing number of people feel that as they are already engaging in regular consultation that they might as well use the time spent for accreditation as well.
With the introduction of Stepped Care in New Zealand, some District Health Boards (DHBs) are introducing a credentialing system. Being an accredited EMDR Practitioner with an EMDR Association will benefit those who apply for accreditation under credentialing system by providing further evidence of competence.
I know of several EMDR therapists who describe a sense of pride that they can include “EMDRAA Accredited EMDR Practitioner” on their business cards and website and I recall the sense of satisfaction that I felt when I learned that my application for accreditation had been successful. It was validation of my competence in using EMDR therapy and recognition for the many clinical hours that I had spent working with clients and attending consultation. This has also increased my confidence as an EMDR practitioner, a significant factor for our clients and ourselves when practising a therapy like EMDR, which has the potential for great benefit but which also can be quite daunting.
EMDR accreditation is not localised to EMDR Asia or the Pacific regions.
Each country that has an association is responsible for their own programmes. EMDRIA is the name of the US association and only provides accreditation for US Practitioners, it is not international.
EMDRIA and EMDR Europe both have comprehensive accreditation programmes.
EMDRAA has adapted the Competency Based Framework originally devised by EMDR Europe.
EMDRAA is presently negotiating with EMDR Europe to develop a reciprocal agreement for accreditation of Practitioners and Consultants between the two associations.
The central component of the competency based framework for EMDRAA Accredited Practitioners is that of the EMDR therapy protocol.
EMDR Clinicians need to demonstrate their competency in each of the eight phases of EMDR therapy protocol.
Competency can only be assessed and determined by an EMDRAA Accredited Consultant. In addition, the clinician seeking accreditation as an EMDRAA Practitioner must meet the following requirements:
- Completion of a recognised EMDRAA training.
- At least one year of clinical experience since completing EMDR Basic Training.
- Completion of a minimum of 50 EMDR therapy sessions.
- Treatment of a minimum number of 25 clients.
- A minimum of 10 hours consultation/ clinical supervision with an EMDRAA Accredited Consultant which includes witnessing the applicants EMDR clinical work either through DVD or in-vivo.
- Two references, one from the EMDRAA Consultant and the other from a person who can comment about the applicant’s professional practice & standing.
- Proven membership of EMDRAA.
For Accreditation as a Consultant:
EMDRAA considers that the EMDR consultant plays a pivotal part in the future development of EMDR therapy, and no more so than in the accreditation process itself. EMDR consultants have a key responsibility in maintaining quality assurance and high standards of practice in EMDR therapy. As a consequence EMDR consultants need to demonstrate their considerable EMDR therapy clinical experience and expertise. In addition they must demonstrate skills in supervision, consultation and teaching skills.
EMDRAA Practitioners seeking accreditation as a Consultant must meet the following requirements:
- Treatment of a broad range of clients of varying diagnoses and complexity
- Completion of a minimum of 300 EMDR sessions
- Treatment of a minimum number of 75 clients
- Demonstrate competency in the provision of EMDR clinical supervision/consultation (This will ordinarily be a minimum of 20 hours)
- Participation in regular clinical consultation / supervision of on-going EMDR therapy clinical work
- A minimum of 24 hours EMDR Continuous Professional Development (CPD) since becoming an EMDRAA accredited Practitioner.
- Submission of a minimum of three DVD’s or in-vivo sessions in total of EMDR clinical work, an individual EMDR clinical Supervision session and a Group EMDR Clinical Supervision
Accreditation is a process to assess competency for both Practitioners and Consultants.
The Accredited Consultant has a responsibility to support and train others who want to be consultants. They provide 10 hours of consultation for trainees and assess fully trained practitioners for accreditation. They are recognised as being capable of developing training programmes in EMDR speciality areas.
Pathway to Associate then Full Member of EMDRAA
- Anyone can apply for EMDRAA Associate membership at any time by completing forms, submitting and paying membership fees via the EMDRAA website.
- Be a currently registered Mental Health Professional
- Fulfil eligibility to attend EMDRAA approved EMDR training course. See registered training courses on the EMDRAA website.
- Complete an EMDRAA approved EMDR Basic Training/ Level One Training through one of the EMDRAA approved courses.
Step 3: Associate to Full Member
Once you have received your Associate Membership you are eligible to become a Full EMDRAA Member after completing the following:
- Post level one training, complete 10 hours supervision/ consultancy with an EMDRAA Accredited consultant. See list on the EMDRAA website.
- Ensure all paperwork is completed as you work through your supervision.
- Complete EMDRAA accredited level 2 training.
- Complete application for Full Membership to EMDRAA.
- Submit completed paperwork to the EMDRAA for assessment.
Pathway to become an Accredited Practitioner
The below must be met:
Pathway to Accredited Practitioner
- You must be a currently Registered Mental Health Practitioner, with 2 years post professional qualification.
- You must be 1 year post completion of EMDRAA approved basic / level one EMDR training.
Ensure the following requirements are met:
- Completed 50 sessions EMDR – with a minimum
- 25 different clients for EMDR therapy – plus
- 10 extra hours supervision/ consultancy, post approval of full membership (as corroborated by the consultant) – and
- Your consultant must witness your EMDR therapy by direct observation (video/ role play)
- You must have obtained your Full membership with EMDRAA to begin the process of consultancy (which means having previously completed 10 hours consultation and level 2 training as well).
Note: EMDRAA Accreditation lasts 5 years in duration at which point a review is necessary.
Pathway to Accredited Consultant with EMDRAA
- Obligations fulfilled and application approved confirming you are an EMDRAA Accredited Practitioner.
You must demonstrate 3 years of experience since becoming an Accredited Practitioner while also completing these additional requirements:
- You must have conducted 300 EMDR sessions since becoming EMDRAA accredited– with a minimum of
- 75 different clients (a broad range) with whom you’ve used EMDR
- You must have received 20 hours consultancy from an EMDRAA approved consultant as an Accredited Practitioner
- You must have 24 hours of EMDR professional development
- You must have completed 3 presentations (minimum) to your consultant of EMDR clinical / consultancy work (minimum 6 hours) including:
- 1 clinical session
- 1 individual consultancy/ supervision session
- 1 group consultancy session where possible
I believe that all EMDR practitioners should be engaged in EMDR therapy consultation with an Accredited Consultant and that this should be a priority however busy we are.
Psychologists are required to have 10 hours of consultancy as part of their CPD for registration and these 10 hours can be considered when applying for accreditation as a practitioner with EMDRAA.
EMDR therapy consultation is an integral part of EMDR clinical practice and I believe that we owe it to ourselves and our clients to provide them with the highest standard of EMDR therapy.
An increasing number of people feel that as they are already engaging in regular consultation that they might as well use the time spent for accreditation as well.
I would like to refer to the words of Derek Farrell and Francine Shapiro:
“The current format of training is relatively short and provides training participants with a certificate of attendance rather than a certificate of competence or knowledge check. Instead the integration between theory and practice in EMDR is primarily driven by EMDR clinical supervision and consultation. Therefore clinical supervision in EMDR is arguably one of the most important activities in relation to developing and maintaining therapeutic competence in EMDR” (Farrell 2013)
Enhancing EMDR clinical supervision through the utilisation of an EMDR process model of supervision and an EMDR personal development action plan. Social Sciences Directory Vol. 2, No. 5, 6-25, December 2013 orc.ac.uk ISSN 2049-6869
“EMDR education is only the beginning of the learning process. Once formal training is complete, it becomes the responsibility of all therapists and researchers using EMDR to continue to upgrade their skills through on going practice, supervision and consultation with more experienced practitioners” (Shapiro, 1995; pg. 385)”
Shapiro, F. (1995). Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing: Basic principles, protocols and procedures. New York: Guildford Press
Granted that the accreditation process does take time, and necessarily involves a significant amount of reflection and attention to detail. It would not be a very worthwhile process if it did not.
I was fortunate to access EMDR clinical consultation from an excellent and experienced accredited consultant soon after undertaking my basic training in 2003. The consultant encouraged me to plan well for the sessions so that my clients and I would gain the most from the sessions. The planning involved reviewing the case in detail and identifying the key question that I was seeking consultation on. It was important to have relevant details available in the session such as the target image, negative and positive cognition, VoC, SUD, etc. so that valuable consultation time was not lost or wasted.
I recommend keeping accurate records of cases discussed during consultation sessions – this will enable you to complete the accreditation application form more smoothly and efficiently.
Yes – I believe there are a variety of ways for practitioners to enhance their skills regarding the use of EMDR therapy.
I recommend developing a good relationship with an EMDRAA accredited consultant and attending regular consultation. This provides a unique opportunity to refine and polish existing skills and to learn new ones.
If you are unable to attend a group then access individual EMDR therapy consultation via Skype – (List of EMDRAA Accredited Consultants available via EMDRAA website)
Attend an EMDR therapy consultation group and network with like-minded colleagues. It is both interesting and a good learning opportunity to listen to and learn from the experience of other EMDR therapy clinicians.
Present a case and share your experience at a consultation group.
Ensure that you are up to date with current EMDR therapy related research and new protocols that can enhance the quality of therapy provided to clients.
Make the most of EMDR related learning opportunities such as the range of Webinars that EMDRAA are making available free of charge to members.
Read the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research – available as a member of EMDRAA
Beware of vicarious trauma creeping up unexpectedly – reflect on cases, evaluate your work with clients and talk about your experiences with your consultant and perhaps other practitioners.
I also recommend reading the following paper by Derek Farrell and consider developing your own EMDR personal development plan:
Social Sciences Directory Vol. 2, No. 5, 6-25, December 2013
orc.ac.uk ISSN 2049-6869
Enhancing EMDR clinical supervision through the utilisation of an EMDR process model of supervision and an EMDR personal development action plan
Derek Farrell – University of Worcester, Worcester, UK
Paul Keenan – Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK
Lorraine Knibbs – EMDR Europe Accredited Consultant
Tim Jones – University of Worcester
EMDR Clinical Supervision offers the opportunity for the EMDR Supervisee to engage in a number of important aspects in relation to exploring their EMDR practice and professional development. This paper will outline models of clinical supervision and how they relate to EMDR. It will propose an EMDR Clinical Supervision Process Model that captures both the micro and macro elements of EMDR as an eight-phase psychological treatment intervention for psychological trauma. An EMDR Personal Development Action Plan (EMDR PDAP) will also outline how this could be incorporated within EMDR clinical supervision in the promotion of theory and practice integration in EMDR. Although the paper will focus upon the EMDR Europe Practitioner Competency Framework the implications for enhancing EMDR clinical supervision apply to EMDR clinicians internationally.