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What Should You Ask Before Starting EMDR Therapy?

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Potential EMDR clients regularly ask what they should know before starting EMDR therapy and what to expect in the process (excellent questions we think!). The range of answers can go in many directions, including knowledge about the process of EMDR, the eight phases of EMDR Therapy, the effectiveness of EMDR, how it aids our body’s natural healing process, and how to ask about the training or credentials of the EMDR therapist.

How do I know if I'm doing EMDR Therapy right?

This is a common question. Many clients want to "get it just right" and fear they may be doing it "wrong". The reality is that all information in the session is simply information telling the clinician where we are at in the healing process. A strong clinician will have the ability to connect with you and guide you through the process without you feeling like you're in the dichotomy of "right and wrong".

Have you ever received EMDR Therapy?

We think it's important for every therapist to have a therapist and especially when doing EMDR. An EMDR Therapist needs to know what it feels like to be a client. We think that helps the clinician relate to you and to provide even better support.

A strong therapist will have experienced a LOT of therapy! A clinician cannot take you where they haven't been (aka lived experience) - if a clinician hasn't gone into the deepest corners of their minds, their fears, anxieties, relationships, traumas - how can they work with you through yours? I've always said to clinicians: "You can't take a client where you have not gone yourself!" (taught to me by my mentor). If a clinician hasn't done their work you'll feel it intuitively and may hold back.

I also think it matters if the clinician has done only in-person or only online work. In today's world with clinicians getting "quick online" counseling degrees it's vital to ask if they've ever been in a room with a client or if they've been in a classroom having difficult conversations!

Why aren't we doing the Dual Attention Stimulus (formerly known as Bilateral Stimulation) every EMDR Therapy session?

This is probably the most common question we get asked around session 3! A solid EMDR therapist knows that having the correct EMDR target, establishing stability for you, and ensuring you're able to come in and out of disturbance safely will provide you with a minimum 3 sessions before starting the stimulation.

Furthermore, if you haven't got the skills or "adaptive information" in "front of mind" jumping into EDMR may do more damage.

Clinicians also need to take into consideration your current presentation - are you leaving on a holiday, or are there current crisis' that need to be addressed? And they need to make a solid clinical judgment before starting the stimulation.

What EMDR Therapy training do you have?

Ideally, your EMDR Therapist should at least be certified.

EMDR Therapists: Any clinician can obtain the EMDR Basics Training. This does not mean that they have done other relevant and necessary training such as understanding dissociation, what to do if EMDR doesn't go well, different types of EMDR protocols such as recent events, high performance, urges/addictions, pain, complex grief etc.

Certified EMDR Therapists: After that, clinicians who are committed to ongoing training and consultation (meaning not working alone, having someone to bounce off of who is supportive to their practice - or even being part of EMDR Group Consultations) - can become Certified EMDR Therapists.

CIT EMDR Therapists: CIT stands for a consultant in training and is for therapists who are working on providing consultations to other clinicians.

Consultant Status: A clinician who has earned enough experience, training, and references to provide consultations to other clinicians on their complex cases.

All clinicians should be registered with EMDRIA which stands for EMDR-International Association who regulate the above.

On writing this I'm realizing there are many questions you should ask before connecting and trusting an EMDR Therapist so I'll be sure to write another blog or provide a checklist for you.

If you have questions you wonder if you should ask please don't hesitate to email me at We are happy to help!


EMDR Therapists

Farah Kurji & Associates specializes in trauma and complex trauma. Farah is an EMDR consultant and the team is either certified or working towards certification! You are welcome to book a free meet and greet HERE and we can chat about your needs and assess fit either with us or with those whom we recommend!

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