How does EMDR Work?

EMDR utilizes the brain’s own healing power to resolve traumatic memories that contribute, without the person’s awareness, to present symptoms and problems. Trauma is easily recognized in the events such as natural disasters, accidents, acts of violence, rapes, deaths, etc. that are diagnostic criteria for PTSD. But trauma may also be evidenced by any event in the past that has a persistent negative effect in the present.

Many of these “little t” traumas occur during childhood when we are not able to provide for our own needs and safety and have little choice, control, or power. When the brain’s natural information processing system becomes overwhelmed by the trauma, the memory is stored in it’s original, non-processed mode, retaining the disturbing emotions, uncomfortable body sensations, and negative cognitions about the self associated with the trauma. The memory is “stuck”, isolated from connecting with conscious and adaptive information processing networks, and although unconscious, the memory triggers present symptoms, attitudes, and behaviors including addiction. EMDR is highly effective in identifying and resolving the memories that contribute to present dysfunction, unhappiness, and addiction.

How does EMDR Work?


The person providing the consultation. For the purposes of this document, the term consultant may refer to either an Approved Consultant or Consultant in Training.

The person receiving the consultation.

A Consultant-in-Training is an EMDRIA Certified Therapist who has completed the CIT declaration process, upholds the terms & agreements and is actively working towards becoming an Approved Consultant. A CIT can provide up to 10 hours of group consultation and 5 hours of individual consultation to a consultee who is working towards EMDRIA Certification.

Consultation is a collaborative relationship between mental health clinicians in which the consultant reviews the consultee’s EMDR client case material and provides feedback to the consultee regarding their use of standard EMDR therapy with clients. The consultation is expected to be consultee-centered which means the focus is on the skills and knowledge of the consultee’s use of standard EMDR therapy with clients. The consultation should be structured in format and consultees are expected to provide examples of their clinical work as part of the consultation process which may include video recordings, audio recordings, near verbatim transcripts, and/or EMDR case presentation form. The consultant is expected to review and evaluate the consultee as part of the consultation process.

  • -  EMDR basic training consultation – The focus of consultation is implementation and initial application of standard EMDR therapy and the AIP model in work with actual client cases.
  • -  EMDRIA Certification consultation –The consultant must determine that the consultee has demonstrated proficiency and fidelity to the standard EMDR therapy as required by the consultant in order to receive recommendation for certification.

Note: Consultation is not equivalent to clinical supervision. Hours accrued toward EMDRIA Certification are not recommended to co-occur with supervision (for licensure). Consultation is also not equivalent to provision of psychotherapy services, which poses an ethical issue of dual relationship.

Consultation-of-consultation is a collaborative relationship between mental health clinicians in which a consultant provides feedback and guidance to a Consultant in Training (CIT). The feedback is focused on the CIT’s skills and ability to provide consultation to other clinicians based on material presented by the CIT, direct observation, or recorded observation. The consultation-of-consultation should be structured in format and CITs are expected to provide examples of their ability to provide consultation to others. CITs are expected to work with at least 5 different consultees who are working towards Certification and are expected to complete at least 5 hours of individual consultation and 10 hours of group consultation with consultees.
The consultant is expected to review, evaluate and determine the readiness of the CIT as part of the process. Although co-leading consultation groups and shadowing (which is defined as being present while a consultant provides consultation) are significant and valuable for the CIT process, these activities themselves do not count as consultation- of-consultation.

Note: Only Approved Consultants can provide consultation-of-consultation to Consultants in Training. INDIVIDUAL CONSULTATION

Individual consultation includes a total of two individuals (1:1), the consultant and the consultee.


This purpose of this packet is to provide information and to establish clear expectations of the consultation process for both consultants and consultees.

Consultation focuses on the mastery and integration of standard EMDR therapy in practice. The consultant values the integrity and independence of the consultee. The consultant and consultee are expected to operate within the ethical standards and scope of practice of their professional license. It should be consultee-centered case consultation and the purpose is for the consultant to evaluate the consultee’s use of standard EMDR therapy with clients. Consultation is not supervision. The consultee maintains full responsibility and autonomy for the decisions involving their clients’ treatment. The consultant provides feedback on the consultee’s the utilization of standard EMDR therapy and is not directive with client work. The consultant’s primary responsibility is in evaluating the consultee’s ability in implementing the standard EMDR therapy’s eight phase protocol, three-pronged approach. If there are concerns about the consultee’s ability, the consultant is responsible for communicating those concerns as early on in the consultation process as is possible so that appropriate corrective measures can be taken by the consultee.

During the consultation of consultation process, the consultant evaluates the CITs skill and ability as a consultant.

Consultants are expected to provide up-to-date and relevant information regarding the utilization of standard EMDR therapy with various client populations. The consultant recognizes their limits of competency and, when appropriate, will refer the consultee to another consultant who is more familiar with a specific client population.   (EMDRIA, 2019)