Understand Advanced EMDR Training: The 10 Essential Techniques

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on September 8, 2023
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One method has been making waves in the vast spectrum of trauma treatment strategies due to its innovative approach and proven effectiveness—Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

But how do we unlock the full potential of this groundbreaking therapy?

The answer lies in advanced EMDR training. This isn’t just about refining skills—it’s about expanding horizons, diving deeper into the intricacies of the human mind, and becoming fluent in the language of EMDR.

Studies attest to the power of EMDR. The World Health Organization recognizes it as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

However, mastering its use requires more than a basic understanding, like any sophisticated tool. It demands a commitment to continued learning, practice, and growth.

In this article, we’ll delve into the ten essential techniques of advanced EMDR training, offering insights that can take your practice to new heights of efficacy and empathy. We’re not just talking about a step up from the basics—we’re talking about a quantum leap forward in understanding and implementing this transformative approach.

So, are you ready to embark on a journey that could redefine your approach to trauma treatment? Let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of advanced EMDR training together.

A Deeper Look into EMDR as a Therapeutic Technique

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a transformative approach that has revolutionized the landscape of trauma treatment.

But what exactly is EMDR, and why is it so effective?

Francine Shapiro developed EMDR in the late 1980s to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. It uses a patient’s rapid, rhythmic eye movements to lessen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events.

The therapy is divided into eight phases, and unlike traditional forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event. This process enables people to heal from symptoms and emotional distress caused by disturbing life experiences.

Please read: Use of the flash technique in EMDR therapy: Four case examples

An integral part of EMDR is bilateral stimulation, typically through eye movements, which appears to help the brain reprocess traumatic memories and reduce their impact. Also, EMDR can be successfully administered remotely, making it more accessible for individuals who cannot attend in-person sessions.

However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of EMDR can be significantly influenced by the therapist’s understanding of the treatment protocol and ability to adapt it to the client’s needs.

So, whether you’re a mental health professional seeking to broaden your therapeutic toolkit or an individual searching for effective trauma treatment options, delving deeper into EMDR can be a journey worth undertaking.

How Advanced Training Can Enhance Your Practice

Advanced training can significantly enhance your practice regardless of where you are in your professional journey.

Let’s explore how.

  1. Expanding Your Skillset: Advanced training introduces you to various techniques and methodologies. This equips you to handle more diverse client needs and empowers you to innovate and adapt your approach based on each client’s unique circumstances.
  2. Staying Current: The field of mental health is ever-evolving. Advanced training helps you keep up with the latest research, emerging trends, and cutting-edge therapies. This ensures the most recent and relevant data inform your practice.
  3. Deepening Understanding: Advanced training involves a deeper dive into complex concepts and conditions. This can lead to a more nuanced understanding of mental health, enhancing your ability to empathize with and support your clients.
  4. Boosting Confidence: With advanced training comes increased competence—and with increased competence comes increased confidence. This can improve client interactions and contribute to a more potent therapeutic alliance.
  5. Professional Development: Advanced training can lead to certifications or specializations that set you apart. This can attract more clients and open up new professional opportunities.

Advanced training isn’t just about adding a few extra tools to your toolbox—it’s about transforming your practice from good to exceptional. It’s about committing to continuous learning and growth, all in service of those who rely on you for support.

So, are you ready to take your practice to the next level?

10 Essential Techniques for Advanced EMDR Training

Let’s delve into ten essential techniques integral to advanced EMDR training.

  1. Bilateral Stimulation: A cornerstone of EMDR, it uses rhythmic eye movements to help the brain process traumatic memories.
  2. Cognitive Interweaving: This technique assists in integrating traumatic experiences into the client’s mental framework.
  3. Floatback Technique: Used to identify related past experiences that inform present reactions.
  4. Targeting Sequence Plan (TSP): A plan prioritizes processing identified targets.
  5. Future Template Technique: Helps clients visualize and process potential future scenarios.
  6. Installation of Positive Cognition (IPC) reinforces positive self-beliefs after reprocessing traumatic memories.
  7. Body Scan: A vital phase in EMDR therapy where clients focus on physical sensations.
  8. Desensitization: The client focuses on the disturbing memory while the therapist initiates bilateral stimulation.
  9. Closure: Ensures the client leaves each session feeling better than or as good as they thought initially.
  10. Reevaluation: This involves checking the results of previous sessions and planning the next steps.

Remember, while these techniques provide a roadmap, mastering EMDR therapy requires dedication, practice, and continuous learning.

Advanced EMDR Training Resources

  1. EMDR Institute: The EMDR Institute offers advanced training and workshops for mental health professionals seeking to deepen their knowledge and skills in EMDR therapy. You might want to check this out. EMDR Institute
  2. EMDR International Association (EMDRIA): This is a professional association where EMDR practitioners and EMDR researchers seek the highest standards for the clinical use of EMDR therapy. They offer a variety of advanced courses and certifications. EMDRIA
  3. PESI: PESI provides continuing education to professionals across the country. They have an extensive list of EMDR trainings, including some advanced courses. PESI
  4. Trauma Recovery/EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs: This organization offers a range of EMDR training opportunities, from basic to advanced. They focus on helping clinicians provide effective treatment for trauma survivors. https://www.emdrhap.org/
  5. The Maiberger Institute: The Maiberger Institute offers a variety of EMDR trainings, including advanced topics such as EMDR and mindfulness, EMDR and attachment wounds, and using EMDR with specific populations. https://maibergerinstitute.com/
  6. Institute for Creative Mindfulness: This institute offers EMDR Therapy training courses that include basic training, advanced topics, and retreat-style offerings. Institute for Creative Mindfulness

Advantages and Challenges of Advanced EMDR Training

Advanced training in EMDR provides therapists with a deeper understanding and more refined skills, but it’s not without its challenges.

See Participants’ Experiences of EMDR Training

Let’s explore both sides of the coin.


  1. Broadened Skillset: Advanced EMDR training equips therapists with techniques to handle more complex cases, including attachment disorders and severe dissociation.
  2. Increased Confidence: Therapists often report higher confidence levels in administering EMDR after advanced training.
  3. Professional Recognition: Certification in EMDR can signal to clients and peers that you’re committed to continuous learning and skill enhancement.
  4. Versatility: EMDR can be applied across various issues, from fear and addiction to grief recovery.

Potential Challenges

  1. Time Commitment: Advanced EMDR training can be intensive, often requiring a significant commitment of time and energy.
  2. Emotional Toll: Working with traumatic memories can take an emotional toll on therapists, making self-care and supervision crucial.
  3. Financial Investment: Depending on the program, advanced EMDR training can be a substantial financial investment.

While advanced EMDR training offers numerous benefits, therapists need to consider potential challenges and make informed decisions. After all, the ultimate goal is to provide the most effective care for those we serve.

Suggested Steps for Therapists Interested in Advanced EMDR Training

If you’re contemplating this journey, here are some recommended steps to help guide your path:

  1. Understand the Basics: Before diving into advanced training, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of basic EMDR principles and techniques.
  2. Complete Basic EMDR Training usually involves attending workshops, completing coursework, and gaining hands-on experience through supervised practice.
  3. Gain Clinical Experience: Apply your basic EMDR training in a clinical setting. Experience with a diverse client population can provide invaluable insights and prepare you for more complex cases.
  4. Choose Your Advanced EMDR Training Course: Various options, from intensive 5-day courses to online sessions, are available. Choose one that aligns with your professional goals and schedule.
  5. Attend Advanced EMDR Training: These trainings delve deeper into EMDR techniques and their applications. You’ll learn how to handle more complex trauma cases, integrate EMDR into psychoanalytic processes, and even use EMDR for non-trauma-related issues like addiction.
  6. Apply for EMDR Certification: After completing your advanced training, consider applying for EMDR certification. It’s not mandatory but can enhance your credibility and professional standing.

Advanced EMDR training is a commitment—not just of time and resources, but also of heart and mind. It requires a willingness to continuously learn, grow, and refine your skills.

But the rewards—enhanced therapeutic skills, increased confidence, and the ability to transform lives—make it a journey worth embarking on.

Addressing Common Questions and Concerns about Advanced EMDR Training

However, like any advanced training, it can raise questions and concerns among therapists considering this path. Let’s address some of the common ones:

  1. What are the prerequisites for Advanced EMDR Training?
    Usually, therapists need to have completed Basic EMDR Training and must be licensed mental health professionals.
  2. Does consultation come with the training?
    This depends on the training provider. Some include consultations in their package, while others may charge extra.
  3. How can EMDR training benefit my practice?
    EMDR training equips you with tools to treat various issues, from trauma to addiction, broadening your client base. It also enhances your professional standing and credibility.
  4. Does EMDRIA approve Advanced EMDR Training?
    Ensure the course you’re considering is approved by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), the governing body for EMDR practice.
  5. What should clients ask an EMDR therapist?
    Clients should ask about the therapist’s EMDR credentials, areas of specialization, and experience with their specific issues.
  6. What should clients know before starting EMDR therapy?
    Clients should understand what EMDR involves, its potential benefits and risks, and what to expect during and after sessions.

Remember, the decision to pursue advanced EMDR training should be informed by thorough research and thoughtful consideration. Please check out the EMDR Professional for more info because the more you know, the better you’ll be to navigate the journey ahead.


As we wrap up, remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness—it’s a testament to your strength. It’s about taking charge of your life and making informed decisions that support your well-being.

So, whether you’re a practitioner looking to deepen your understanding of EMDR or someone seeking effective ways to address trauma, know there’s a world of resources, techniques, and professional guidance waiting for you.

EMDR isn’t just a treatment—it’s a pathway towards healing, growth, and resilience.

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