EMDRIA Training Standards

I recently sent the following to one of the EMDRIA discussion lists. It was in response to the announcement that the long worked on new standards for expert status proposal was not going to be accepted as submitted, and a new committee would be formed to reconsider the subject:

While I too am impressed by the amount of effort the committee put into this, and grateful for the long standing dedication the committee members have made in many areas to try to get EMDR the prominence it deserves in our profession, I would like to offer another perspective on the continuing efforts regarding training and practice standards. The beginning structure of my comments is influenced by, as some of you will know, part of the Passover service

First Francine described EMD in an article (1989, JTS), and predicted that following the article’s instructions clinicians could expect a 75 – 80% success rate, with some improvement on that with further training. So,
– she offered a two day training (including supervised practica, which were generally far beyond the standards of field at the time, and even often now)
But that was not enough
– then 2 two day trainings
But that was not enough
– then 2 three day trainings
But that was not enough
– then ten hours of consultation ( a great addition)
But that was not enough
– and EMDRIA added certification and consultation status based on many hours of experience and consultation
But that was not enough
This is not to mention a few efforts to develop tests to establish competency – none of which appeared to work well enough to be implemented.

The latest EMDRIA effort to be “enough”, has been a proposal to add increased structure and evaluation standards that are so rigorous and involved that they are impossible to implement practically and financially, even if they would do what none of the previous steps did – produce guaranteed proper EMDR practitioners. If the proposed standards were implemented the newly minted certified clinicians and consultants might be much better than not only what our trainings have been turning out, but better than most of the untested people imposing the standards.
But, I still don’t think that would be enough

Yet, I do think something added to the unstructured evaluation that current occurs is a good idea.

I propose the following as a position to be considered in the on going discussion:
1. a written test on the basics: especially client preparation, the assessment phase and implementation of em and its substitutes), and closing a session.
2. a role play in which the above are demonstrated, as well as an example of what to do when the client is stuck.
(I prefer a role play to actual client recordings because
-many therapist work in situations where taping is not possible
-having to conduct a session with the goal of passing a test puts the therapist in a dual allegiance situation not advantageous to clients
– the session recordings I have seen at public presentations from the even the most universally acknowledged masters of EMDR practice demonstrate impressive clinical effectiveness, but also demonstrate repeated violations of the standard EMDR protocol. This makes we wonder if too rigid standards and training wouldn’t interfere with effective practice, especially since so many parts of standard practice are not backed by research.
3. some specified number of clients treated

We should be aware that in the meantime maybe practitioners with a more fluid understanding of the principles by which EMDR works will develop less structured, or differently structured, ways to use Shapiro’s discovery and development of em, demonstrate that their version works too, and not require impossible standards to authoritatively practice it. In addition they might fail to acknowledge that their work is actually derived from EMDR.

And, lets not even talk about how we have two levels of special expertise, “certified” and “consultant” when, it is the generally accepted standard that if you are expert (certified) then should be expected to be able to teach.