What Is EMDR and Why Should I Get EMDR Trained?

August 12th, 2021

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It’s a long name so we just refer to it as EMDR. EMDR is evidence-based for PTSD, however has been shown to be effective for a number of other common clinical presentations. These include anxiety, depression, grief and loss, chronic pain, adjustment disorders, performance anxiety, OCD, phobias, panic, and just general challenges in life. 

EMDR is a neuro-informed therapy, meaning it’s research and focus is aligned with neurobiology. We focus on the storage of memory in EMDR and how memory storage can contribute to health and wellness, or lead to dis-ease and suffering.

Experiences happen in our lives that get translated into memories. Sometimes, experiences get “stuck” in our memory networks and cause “yuck”. These experiences can get “stuck” because they were overwhelming and traumatic, stressful or adversarial. They can also get stuck because we were sick, tired, hungry, too little, or just not running on all cylinders. Anything that impacts the functioning of the nervous system can impact the storage of memory, for better or worse.

Think about what happens when we eat too much. We overwhelm our digestive system and this leads to symptoms. Bloating, gas, nausea, needing those “big and comfy” pants that have lots of room for your belly. Our nervous system is kind of the same. When things get stuck because the system couldn’t “digest” the experience, we might experience anxiety, flashbacks, low self-esteem, substance use, self-harm, and so on. EMDR is kind of like the antacid for your memory networks. It helps the nervous system process those experiences that are stuck and causing yuck.

EMDR follows a researched protocol, which means there are steps to this treatment. These are known as the 8 Phases of EMDR, which consist of case conceptualization, preparation for memory reprocessing, identifying memories to reprocess, and then desensitizing those stuck memories to a point of adaptive resolution.

EMDR uses something called bilateral stimulation, or BLS. This involves a client following eye movements, taps, or audio tones while focusing on the memory. Some people think BLS is controversial, but it’s not.  We’ve done a whole lot of research on the neurological processes behind BLS. We have some highly researched hypotheses on how BLS works, which are a bit too much to go into in this article. BLS is not “woo woo” or magical, though it sometimes seems like it. BLS is actually helping the nervous system do what it’s already wired to do, which is integrate experiences and move towards health and wellness.  If you’d like to geek out on BLS, check out this link here for some in-depth research. 

EMDR training is regulated and overseen by the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA). Training consists of 50 hours of learning, consisting of 20 hours of lecture, 20 hours of practicum, and 10 hours of consultation. EMDR is an entire conceptual framework and not just a “tool in your toolkit”. Every client on your caseload could benefit from EMDR, and learning EMDR will vastly improve your skills and competency as a therapist. EMDR training for many is a “game-changer” and opens up new opportunities and pathways to healing. 

It’s important to find an EMDR training that’s thorough, maintains fidelity to the model, that’s well organized, and that keeps you engaged and inspired. Learning this model takes time and energy. At Rebecca Kase & CO, we take our jobs seriously, while adding in a lot of humor and play. Trauma trainings are EXHAUSTING! We get that because we’ve lived that. We don’t want to be another boring, intellectual, uninspiring training in your professional lifetime. We aim to deliver awesome content in a fun and engaging way. We have developed a dynamic, incredibly well organized training that not only delivers awesome academic content, but that also provides an inspiring, supportive, shame-free space for learning. Our entire team is compassionate, kind, and highly competent. We hold space for the nerves and vulnerability that can come in learning this material.

Our training feedback is consistently off the charts positive, with rave reviews, immense gratitude and thanks, and appreciation <3 <3 <3. We pay careful attention to every part of the process and set a goal for a fun and serious learning experience. We promise you’ve never experienced a trauma training exactly quite like ours.

We hope you’ll join us at one of our upcoming tranings!
Blog Author Photo