EMDR Supervision or EMDR Consultation?
Updated: Jul 20
I am often asked if I do EMDR Supervision. Unfortunately, that requires a bit more of a complex answer than the person is hoping to hear. So, the short answer is “yes, I do EMDR Consultation, not EMDR Supervision—unless you and I have a Supervision Contract signed between us.”
It is so important that we clarify these concepts so that EMDR Consultees’ expectations are set up appropriately from the beginning. I have heard several distressing stories from those who sought EMDR Consultation and were not clear about what they needed and what their EMDR Approved Consultant was willing to do prior to getting started. Consultees ended up spending more money than they needed to because there was no agreement set ahead of time. You can see EMDRIA’s EMDR Certification Criteria and Requirements here.
What is the difference between EMDR Supervision and EMDR Consultation, you ask? I’m so glad you are willing to learn about this!!
The difference is in the legal term “Clinical Supervisor”. That term has with it a great deal of legal accountability, responsibility, and liability. In each state, there are laws, rules, and statues that Clinical Supervisors must adhere to during a Supervision relationship. This liability for client cases does not apply to those offering Consultation.
As your EMDR Consultant, I will not be taking any legal responsibility for your case load, not even the clients you are doing EMDR with. I will simply be checking to confirm you can apply all the Standard EMDR protocol to all your cases. We will use video recordings, audio records, transcripts and/or EMDR Case presentation forms to determine that you have demonstrated proficiency and fidelity to the standard EMDR Therapy protocol. I will also be ensuring that you can sort through the EMDR protocol options in each of these cases to choose what is best—or provide options to the client and talk through what you both think is best to use. I do my best to offer 2-3 options for each of your cases to help you develop your EMDR Clinical expertise.
Just in case you were wondering, The Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association (EMDRIA) recommends that EMDR Consultants do not do co-occurring hours of EMDR Consultation and Clinical Supervision hours toward licensure. In other words, they recommend that we do not double dip for both Consultation Hours and Supervision hours with the same hours. For me that means, we could have both an EMDR Consultation Agreement as well as a Clinical Supervision Contract, but we would be careful to track these hours separately.
During EMDR consultation, we will sign an EMDR Consultation Agreement so we clarify our arrangement, and you can know the minimum number of hours we need to complete together for me to be willing to sign a letter of recommendation for your EMDR Certification. The agreement also allows us to spell out a few other topics. No matter who you work with for EMDR Consultation hours, I highly recommend you and your EMDRIA Approved Consultant have a signed agreement between you.
As a Clinical Supervisor, I often do EMDR Supervision if my supervisee has started and/or completed their training in EMDR. In these cases, I am required to take legal responsibility for your cases and assume liability. I will be reading progress notes and treatment plans, I will be seeing to the overall quality of the work you do with your clients. I will be managing any ethical issues that arise during treatment with your client.
While I am concerned about ethical issues as a EMDR Consultant and we might discuss some ethical concerns, I will not be assuming legal liability if you unintentionally do something unethical with your client. As a Licensed Clinician, I have a duty to report unethical and/or unprofessional behavior when I become aware of it, so I will do my best to make sure you know how to apply EMDR in a fully ethical manner that produces the greatest benefit and least risk to your clients.
I greatly enjoy both EMDR Consultation as well as EMDR Supervision and I hope this has helped clarify which type of professional relationship would be best for you to enter in order to work toward your EMDR Certification or to be more proficient in using EMDR with a greater number of your clients. Please contact me to schedule a 15-minute consultation about EMDR Certification or Clinical Supervision.