August 30, 2018

Finding the Right EMDR therapist

Finding the right therapist can be difficult so it can be good to think about what you need before you get started and I always recommend people at least reach out to more than one person and when possible set appointments with more than one potential therapist and make your choice after that.

But first…

Before I get too into making your criteria and beginning the search, Austin has a large and thriving mental health community which makes this a lot easier.  If you are in an area where that is not the case, you may consider an option called “marathon sessions.”  For marathon sessions, you may be able to get some of the initial work done remotely via telehealth (depending on a lot of factors including but not limited to availability and regulations in your state), then travel to where your chosen therapist offices for 2-5 days and meet with him/her once each day for a 90 minute intensive session.  This may sound like a lot of work and it is.  But imagine the progress you could make in a long weekend if you decided to make the choice.

Getting started with selection process

Think about what you need to feel supported.  Do you need someone who is very honest and direct, or do you prefer someone to hold back and let you get there on your own?  This is important to know because they are very different styles and if one does not work for you and you get someone who does that, it can really add a lot of unneeded stress.

Really think about time of day and day of the week.  It can be really difficult to do some of this work then have to go back to work or kids or any number of other life stressors.  Can you build in time to take care of yourself afterwards?  And if so, what times of the day or days of the week are most likely to give you that flexibility?

Unique needs…

You may be ready to work through some really difficult trauma and you may not want to admit it but there may be some factors you want to consider like age or gender of the therapist, where they are located or tons of other factors.  For example, if you are planning to work through a sexual assault, you may not want to pick a therapist in a location that would require you to drive past the site of your assault each time you go to their office.

Next step

How to distinguish the levels of training in EMDR:

  • Trained” means they went through the ‘basic’ for first level of training and have had some supervision.
  • Certified” means they have completed basic and have completed additional training as well as had , a minimum of two years of experience, 20+ hours of clinician supervision by a consultant, completed a minimum of 50 hours of EMDR sessions with at least 25 different people.
  • Consultant” means the therapist has had a minimum of three years experience with EMDR, they have provided over 300 hours of EMDR with at least 75 different people and had another 20+ hours of consultation.

I think the single easiest way to find someone who is trained in EMDR is to go to  In the top right hand corner there is a "Find an EMDR Therapist" button.  The site will allow you to search for therapists in your area that are from all three different levels of training.  Based on location you can start to weed out from there.

  • Are they taking new clients?
  • Are they in a location that works for you?
  • Do they meet the criteria for you and your personality as well as any unique need you may have?

Your ready to start reaching out!

Then it's time to start calling or emailing to set up consultations.  Most therapists will let you set a 15-20 minute phone call so that you can get to know them a little and ask them some questions.  This can be a great way to dip your toe in and see if you want to set up and intake with them.  Again, if you can set up intakes with 2-3 different people so that you can find one that you feel comfortable with before you get really into the work.

As always, I’m here.  If you are ready to live your best life, call me and let’s get started!

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