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How Do I Find an EMDR Trained Therapist?

Amanda Ann Gregory, LCPC, EMDR Certified 

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a type of therapy that uses bilateral stimulation (such as eye movements, pulsars, and sounds) to process distressing memories and reprocess negative core beliefs. EMDR was originally created to treat trauma, but over time it’s been found to be helpful in treating complicated grief, substance use, anxiety/phobias, chronic pain, dissociation, stress reduction, and personality disorders. 

Are you interested in trying EMDR therapy? If so, you’ll need to locate an EMDR trained clinician. According to EMDRIA (the EMDR international association), there are three types of EMDR trained clinicians: 

  • An EMDR trained practitioner is a therapist who has completed a 50-hour EMDR basic training course. These therapists are able to practice EMDR unrestricted and unsupervised. 
  • An EMDR certified practitioner is a therapist who has completed a 50-hour EMDR basic training course in addition to 32 hours of advanced training. Certified EMDR therapists must be licensed in their state of practice, have facilitated 50 EMDR therapy sessions with at least 25 clients, provided letters of recommendation, and applied for certification. In addition, these therapists must complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years. 
  • An EMDR approved consultant has completed all of the requirements for certification in addition to providing three years and 300 hours of EMDR therapy and receiving 20 hours of consultation from an approved consultant. These therapists must also complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years.

All three types of EMDR trained therapists can provide EMDR therapy to clients. How do you find one of these therapists? Consider these options:

Ask Your Current Therapist 

If you are currently participating in, or have formerly participated in, therapy, ask your counselor to refer you to an EMDR trained therapist. Many therapists have colleagues who are trained in EMDR, and they can provide you with their information. Also, your current therapist might be trained in EMDR therapy and may be able to provide these services to you as a part of your current treatment plan. 

Ask Your Current Counseling Agency 

If you are participating in therapy at a certain agency and you’d like to continue with this agency, ask them if they have any EMDR trained therapists on staff. You can contact the intake or billing department, or ask your current or former therapist to direct you to the appropriate department. 

Use an Online Directory 

EMDRIA provides an online directory for its members, all of whom are trained EMDR therapists. An advantage of using this directory is that EMDRIA screens all of its participants to make sure that they meet all of the qualifications for an EMDR trained therapist. You can use this directory to search by location to find an EMDR therapist in your area. Also, you can use Psychology Today’s directory and search for an EMDR therapist under “Type of Therapy.”   

Screen Potential Therapists 

You may find a therapist who is EMDR trained, but are they the right therapist for you? One of the top predictors of treatment success is your relationship with your therapist. Therefore, it’s important that you find a therapist who you feel might be a good match for you. You can increase the odds of finding a good match by screening your therapist. 

One of the best screening methods is to request a free consultation phone call with your potential therapist. These calls are usually brief and are not therapy sessions, but they provide an opportunity for you to get a feel for this therapist and also address any questions or concerns that you have. Before you schedule a session with a therapist, you should make sure that they meet your availability and insurance requirements, and that they are licensed in your state of residence. 

Symmetry Counseling has multiple therapists on staff who are trained in EMDR therapy. Contact Symmetry Counseling today to request a free consultation call with an EMDR therapist

EMDRIA (2020) EMDR Training and Education. EMDRIA International Association.

Symmetry Counseling (2020). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Symmetry Counseling website retrieved from

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