Committee Update

EMDR Therapy Training Committee Update

The EMDR Therapy Training Committee was charged by ISSTD’s Board of Directors to maintain, update, manage, and teach ISSTD’s EMDR therapy basic training and other long-form EMDR therapy courses offered by the Society. The committee has also maintained a loose collaborative relationship with ISSTD’s EMDR Special Interest Group (SIG) to develop and promote periodic webinars and conference workshops on advanced topics on the specialized use of EMDR therapy with persons with complex trauma and dissociative symptoms.

For those not familiar with ISSTD’s EMDR therapy basic training, it consists of four modules and a total of 81 hours that combine didactic, practicum, seminar-style, and group consultation learning formats. The training teaches the responsible application of EMDR therapy in its Standard Protocol form by helping learners become attuned to the presence and forms of simple trauma, complex trauma, and dissociation. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, participants will learn how to discern when (and how), at this stage in their learning, they can safely use the standard EMDR therapy protocol and procedures to resolve a person’s presenting issues.

What that means is that we teach the foundational elements of EMDR in a more nuanced fashion than is typically the norm, and stress repeatedly, throughout the training, that advanced study, training, knowledge, and experience in treating dissociative disorders, using complementary methods with EMDR therapy as an adjunctive approach, is essential to treat persons with complex trauma histories. This approach is in line with and complementary to ISSTD’s guidelines for treating adults with DID/dissociative disorders.

The training course focuses on the needs of new learners who have never participated in EMDR therapy training of any kind, and combines both in-person and live, webinar-based learning. However, we’ve also seen significant interest and participation from ‘auditors’, who have previously completed basic training (and possibly even gone on to achieve more advanced credentialing) in EMDR, but want either to ‘refresh’ or to fill in some gaps in their existing knowledge. Notably, auditors attend only the 47 hours of didactic learning, which allows ISSTD to offer them a reduced cost—and over twice as many hours as is the norm for the didactic portion of most EMDR therapy basic trainings. The course is taught by ISSTD Fellows and EMDRIA Approved Consultants/Trainers Jennifer Madere, LPC-S, Jillian (Jill) Hosey, MSW, RSW, LICSW, and myself. The practicum and interwoven consultation sessions are facilitated by a slightly larger grouping of EMDRIA Approved Consultants, all ISSTD members: Nicole Black, PhD, LPC-S, LCDC, RPT; Marilyn Korzekwa, MD; Rachel Sage, LCSW-C, MSW, MFA; Sheri van Dijk, MSW, RSW; and Chris Vavro, MA, MSW, LISW-S. As of this writing, we are in the process of wrapping up a successful 2023-2024 run of the basic training.

This likely will be the last update of this kind I provide to you, as, in March 2024, the Board of Directors voted to align our training committee with the structuring of other educational programs under the Center for Advanced Studies umbrella. This meant that our committee was reformed into a training faculty, in line with how the Professional Training Program (PTP) and the ASCH-approved ISSTD clinical hypnosis trainings are configured.

Further changes are afoot, as well! Beginning with the next cohort, the course will take place fully within a single calendar year rather than straddle two years. Looking to 2025, we are further streamlining the course, in part to ensure continued alignment with EMDRIA’s training requirements but also to consolidate aspects of the training based on feedback from learners and our own experience as a training faculty.

ISSTD’s EMDR therapy basic training course will continue to take place fully virtually for all (learn from the comfort of your own home or office!) and is open to both qualified new learners and auditors alike. Although registration for the 2025 cohort will not open until later this year, you can learn more about the training content and other important information here.

Finally, we have BIG NEWS! The committee/faculty has worked for a number of months to develop a two-day EMDR virtual seminar for ISSTD, which will take place this July and is now open for registration. Highlights will include a full day of ethics training focused on considerations for using EMDR with dissociation (presented by Jennifer Madere and myself) and a three-hour presentation on Maureen Kitchur’s Strategic Developmental Model for using EMDR with clients with complex trauma in a brief treatment model (presented by Marilyn Korzekwa, MD). You can LEARN MORE AND REGISTER HERE.