Sadly, a lot a lot of therapists train in EMDR and fail to progress into practising. This may be because they don’t know where to start and they don’t feel confident enough to get going. DON’T LET THIS BE YOU. Spend time thinking about how you can get started as an EMDR therapist and grow your knowledge and skills.

I believe that the hardest step is taking that first one and seeing clients for EMDR treatment. One of the most frequently asked questions from new supervisees is ‘WHERE DO WE START USING EMDR?’ ‘WHO SHALL I START WORKING WITH USING EMDR?’

My advice is always to try to KEEP IT AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE. I can’t underestimate the importance of this. As therapists and often Clinical Psychologists we are trained to work with complexity and really to dive as deep as we possibly can. Due to this we tend to overcomplicate things and this confuses us and makes the work much more difficult. 

When we think back to the practicums that we all did on our training, we were asked to pick a memory over our whole life experience that wasn’t hugely distressing, perhaps about 4 or 5 out of 10. I think it’s helpful to work with memories like that with our clients when we first start using EMDR. Incorporate a few sessions of EMDR into your treatment as usual. Or even, for our first clients, I would think about working with colleagues or friends of friends, or even borrowing clients from different services. Just keep it simple! 

You can ringfence memories and stay really focused on this 1 specific memory. Not allowing it to generalise but bringing it back to the memory when processing goes elsewhere.

For me, laying the foundations and just practising over and over again, the eight phase treatment protocol is exactly what you need to build up your EMDR. You will slowly find that you are able to do EMDR with all your clients. If you miss out this step, you are setting yourself up for a wobbly future. For example, I’ve just started running again. I managed 3 lots of 5 minutes this morning. I hope to progress to be able to run 5k but I know if I tried to run this straight off I would fail, the foundation would not be there. BUILD THE FOUNDATION FIRST! PS As an update to this post, I did eventually get to my 5K but that’s another story for another day!

START OFF SMALL, KEEP IT SIMPLE. For me this indicates you are in it for the long run, you will grow and develop your confidence. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

It’s great if you have a support network around you, you can follow my Facebook Page too. And I can’t emphasise the importance of Shapiro’s book, look in the index, look at the areas that you were a little bit nervous about, front load your own AIP systems so you are ready to go in your client sessions! Your training manuals are great for this too.

If you are interested in finding out more about the EMDR supervision groups I offer please click on the link below.

Stay tuned in to next week when I will be talking about when the safe place goes wrong!


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