EMDR Basic Training through Otago University

Eligibility to Attend EMDR Therapy Training through Otago University. 

EMDR Therapy as taught through Otago University is designed for licensed mental health practitioners who treat adults and children in a clinical setting. EMDR is a complex therapy requiring academic training to Postgraduate diploma level in relevant mental health fields and supervised experience in psychological therapies. To check whether you meet eligibility criteria, click here.

Special Topic 1: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (PSME455)

PSME455 is a 30-point paper studied part-time over one year. It covers the internationally recognised EMDR Therapy Basic Training curriculum (Parts 1 & 2), with some expansion of the topics and with increased contact time for the lectures and practicums. Taught through flexible distance learning, the recorded live interactive lectures can be watched repeatedly as and when suits you. The PSME455 course will include online lectures plus two block courses of 2 and a half days each, held in Wellington. It will use a cyclical teaching approach with theory informing practice and practice informing theory.

Special Topic 1 is accredited by the EMDR Association of New Zealand as meeting the standard of EMDR Basic training. 

PSME455 paper information page

Special Topic 2: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

PSME 456 is is a 30-point paper studied part-time over one year. It covers advanced EMDR Therapy including its application in complex PTSD and additional conditions including EMDR 2.0, addictions, attachment trauma, depression, chronic pain, dissociation, recent traumatic events such as earthquakes, group EMDR Therapy and advanced EMDR Therapy for children. It builds on the EMDR Therapy Special Topic 1 training to ensure mental health practitioners are upskilled in EMDR Therapy for an array of complex problems and to work towards Accredited Practitioner status in EMDR Therapy. 

ELIGIBILITY for Special Topic 2. PSME455 or completion of an EMDR Therapy Basic Training accredited by EMDRNZ are pre-requisites for Special Topic 2.

PSME456 Information page

Basic Training Overview

The substantially updated textbook by Francine Shapiro, PhD, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy: Basic Principles, Protocols and Procedures. Guildford Press, NY, 3rd Edition, 2018 is an excellent resource.

EMDR is a comprehensive psychotherapy that accelerates the treatment of a wide range of pathologies and self-esteem issues related to disturbing events and present life conditions. The interactional, standardized approach has been empirically tested in over 44 randomized controlled studies with trauma patients, and hundreds of published case reports evaluating a considerable range of presenting complaints, including depression, anxiety, phobias, excessive grief, somatic conditions and addictions. EMDR therapy is guided by the Adaptive Information Processing model which addresses the unprocessed memories that appear to set the basis for a wide range of dysfunctions. A number of neurophysiological studies have documented the rapid post treatment EMDR effects.

Integrating EMDR with Other Approaches

As an integrative psychotherapy approach, EMDR is compatible with all contemporary paradigms including, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural, experiential and systemic therapeutic modalities.

Supervision (sometimes called Case Consultation) 

  • 10 hours of supervision are required to complete Special Topic 1. The supervision is built into the course.  5 hours  of group supervision is provided after each block course.
  • Training fees include all supervision
  • Group supervision training dates are organised during the course.

Learning Outcomes: Special Topic 1

Students completing the Year 1 paper will be able to:

 1.     Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the key principles of the Adaptive Information Processing Model and the elements of Shapiro’s (2018) model of maladaptive memory networks.

 2.     Analyse and interpret findings from history taking to apply the Adaptive Information Processing Model to develop a shared, written case conceptualisation with their clients.

 3.     Incorporate a critical understanding of how cultural influences relevant to New Zealand/Aotearoa inform the case conceptualisation.

4.     Demonstrate advanced skills in the application of structured clinical interviews and standardized assessment tools to assess clients to determine whether they meet criteria for readiness for EMDR reprocessing or need further preparation.

 5.     Communicate to clients the model of EMDR therapy in a meaningful way that indicates that the therapist has considerable knowledge of the technique; obtain consent and collaboratively organize a sequence of target memories for EMDR reprocessing.

 6.     Independently and with adequate fidelity apply each of the steps in the Target Assessment Phase (Three) and the Reprocessing Phases (Four, Five and Six) of the standard EMDR procedural steps.

 7.     Recognize and analyse the aetiology of blocked processing.  Demonstrate flexible skills, including mechanical and TICES strategies and the use of interweaves to initiate processing again.

 8.     Critically evaluate current research in application of EMDR therapy.

Learning Outcomes: Special Topic 2

Students completing the paper will be able to:

Understand and describe key principles to consider when working with clients with complexity secondary to pervasive and multiple traumatic experiences in childhood. They will demonstrate knowledge and skills in advanced titrated processing, advanced cognitive interweaves, EMDR 2.0, group EMDR Therapy and the use of the therapeutic relationship to enhance the processing of traumatic material.

Demonstrate specific techniques for working with avoidance defenses.

Demonstrate an understanding of Attachment Theory and how it applies to the use of EMDR Therapy across a variety of presentations.

 Provide effective stabilization and manualised EMDR therapy to individuals suffering from the following   conditions when there is a traumatic origin:

 ·      Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

·       Panic Disorder

·       Somatic sequelae of trauma and trauma responses to illness, injury and pain

·       Addictions -Behavioural and substance

 Describe both individual and group techniques for managing recent traumatic events.

 Utilise a variety of EMDR therapy skills for clients with comorbid dissociation.

 Demonstrate techniques for working with young people across the age range from 2 -20 years.