Certification Requirements

Therapists usually consult with a Parnell Institute Consultant/mentor for 20+ hours to be ready for certification. You and your consultant/mentor will work together on your progress to determine when you are ready for certification.

Applicants for the designation of Attachment-Focused EMDR Certified Therapist must meet the following criteria:

Attachment-Focused EMDR Basic Training

The purpose of these 10 hours of consultation is to provide therapists support and education as they integrate what they learned in Parts 1 & 2 into clinical practice. In consultation, therapists will work on developing the following skills: history taking, case conceptualization, resource development, target development, using the modified protocol, bridging, and interweaves, , and session closure. Therapists must have clients that they can use Attachment-Focused EMDR with and must complete at least two Attachment-Focused EMDR processing sessions during the 10 hour consultation period.

Basic Training

Parts 1 and 2 with a Parnell Institute Trainer

Part 3 with a Parnell Institute Trainer


10 hours of consultation with one of the Parnell Institute Consultants following Part 2


The preliminary requirements for participating in training include a master’s degree or higher in psychology, social work, counseling or behavioral health field, psychiatric nursing, or psychiatry with psychotherapy training.

The candidate must be licensed in their respective field of practice and show evidence of a license/certification/registration as a mental health professional.

A scanned copy of your license/certification/registration to practice independently is required. For countries that do not have licensure, candidates will be evaluated on an individual basis.

At Least 2 Years of Clinical Practice Post-Licensure

Applicants must have at least two years post-basic AF-EMDR training during which they have used AF-EMDR in their clinical practice.

At Least 20 Hours of Consultation with a Parnell Institute Approved Consultant​

Therapists often need additional hours to obtain required proficiency in Attachment-Focused EMDR Certification. Your consultant/mentor will check your progress to determine your readiness and discuss ways to address issues that require additional consultation hours.

Only consultation hours received AFTER completion of Basic AF-EMDR training can be applied towards this requirement.

Note: Consultation is not supervision. The consultee maintains full responsibility and autonomy for the decisions involving their clients’ treatment.

The PI consultant/mentor must verify in writing that the applicant has fulfilled the required number of hours of individual and group consultation. If more than one consultant was used, documentation is required from each. At least 10 of these hours must be individual hours with the same Parnell Institute consultant. The remaining 10 hours may be obtained through small group consultation.

During the mentoring process for certification, candidates must show an understanding of as well as proficiency in the following areas associated with an attachment-focused approach to EMDR, via case presentations, transcripts, videos, and/or live demonstrations:

  • Awareness, ability to describe and work with relational dynamics, transference, and countertransference
  • An ability to explain complex PTSD, including attachment trauma and the impact of trauma on the brain, and how AF-EMDR addresses these issues in language a client can understand
  • Basic knowledge of child development including social, emotional, and cognitive development and the impact of trauma at the different stages of development
  • Knowledge of the basic neuroscience of PTSD
  • Basic knowledge of attachment theory
  • How to take a psychosocial history with an emphasis on developmental history, trauma, resilience, and attachment
    How to assess readiness for EMDR
  • How to conceptualize cases, plan treatment, and develop and prioritize targets for at least two of the following: complex or ongoing trauma, generalized anxiety, core negative belief, somatic symptoms, addictive or self-destructive behavior, or intergenerational trauma
  • How to prepare clients for AF-EMDR trauma processing including the installation of the four foundational resources
  • How to work with large T and small t traumas
  • How to use the three-part protocol
  • How to work with phobias, grief and loss, present-day symptoms, and recent traumatic events
  • How to use bridging
  • How to work with early childhood traumas 
  • How to work with processing difficulties including simple dissociation, abreactions, and memory chaining
  • How to utilize methods for blocked processing, including the use of interweaves and distancing techniques 
  • How to close incomplete sessions 
  • How to do developmental repair work, including the use of the ideal parents
  • How to work in a client-centered way that recognizes and honors our individual and cultural backgrounds including but not limited to racial, gender, sexual orientation, and class
  • How to recognize, remain open to and work with spiritual and transpersonal experiences

Attachment-Focused EMDR Workshop

Complete the live or recorded version of the 12-hour Attachment-Focused EMDR Healing Developmental Deficits and Adults Abused as Children Workshop by Dr. Laurel Parnell.

Required Readings

By Laurel Parnell, Ph.D.

Additional Required Reading

The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk

Full Write-Up of One Case

A full write-up of one case of AF-EMDR with a client with complex PTSD through the full course of treatment that includes the following: 

  • Developmental history
  • Preparation including resource development and installation
  • Identification of goals of treatment
  • Clear case conceptualization
  • Target development and prioritization
  • Identification of root targets via the three-part protocol with or without bridge back 
  • Desensitization
  • Use of interweaves for attachment repair, facilitating blocked processing, and closing incomplete sessions

Session Review

There are two options for session review:

  1. Video Session Review: Applicant sends a good quality video recording of a 50-60 minute AF-EMDR session with a client, peer, colleague, or another certification candidate to their consultant with the required evaluation form provided in the application packet. The recording must show the faces (profile view is fine) of both the client and the therapist. If the video is with a client, the applicant should provide a signed permission form from the client in the packet they send. 
  2. Live or Zoom Session Review: (no Video needed) Videos and Live Sessions are reviewed by their currently active AF-EMDR consultant. Approximately 30 minutes will be set aside for feedback and discussion following each session review. For both the video and Live Session Reviews, the applicant needs to provide a one-page summary detailing the therapeutic history with this client, the skills, and aspects of the AF-EMDR model exemplified.

Session Evaluation and Feedback:

  • The consultant will assess the skill level of the applicant according to the lists of competencies.
  • If the applicant does not satisfy the required competencies, they can submit another video session or do another live session. If after two attempts the applicant has not mastered the competencies, the consultant will make recommendations for additional consultation or training

Recertification Requirements

Every Two Years

Recertification is required every two years. Proof of completion of 12 hours of AF-EMDR Continuing Education within the two-year time period is required (up to 10 hours may be AF-EMDR clinical consultation with a Parnell Institute consultant). 

If a Certified AF-EMDR Therapist does not recertify, all the privileges of certification as listed in this document are discontinued. A Certified AF-EMDR Therapist must apply for recertification within 30 days of the expiration of their original certification date as listed on their certificate.

Continuing Education Options

AF-EMDR Retreats focused on Skill Building:

  • Parnell Institute Annual Conference
  • AF-EMDR Workshops by Parnell Institute Trainers or Parnell Institute faculty

Code of Conduct

  • Members of The Parnell Institute shall observe the professional and ethical standards of their respective clinical professions. If members are not licensed or accountable to a particular discipline’s code of ethics, or if their Code of Ethics does not address the concern at hand, then the American Psychological Association (APA) Code of Ethics (APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, January 1, 2017) shall apply.
  • Members shall continue to be in good standing with the professional organization with which they are affiliated and regulatory board (e.g., state or provincial licensure board or Ministry of Health) in their jurisdiction and have no confirmed findings of illegal, unprofessional, or unethical conduct.
  • Members shall report within 30 days to The Parnell Institute any problems and authorize The Parnell Institute to contact the appropriate licensing boards.
  • Members shall adhere to the code of ethics of their respective clinical profession with regard to the advertising of services or AF-EMDR training programs. If members are not licensed or accountable to a particular discipline’s code of ethics, then the APA Code of Ethics (APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, January 1, 2017) regarding ethics in advertising and public statements shall apply.

Get to Know the People Who Make our Trainings So Effective