Our Intention with certification is to mentor and support your growth as an Attachment-Focused EMDR therapist. Healing is sacred work that recognizes the whole person including the somatic, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Certification is about developing your skills for working with your clients in all these dimensions. It is also a time to work with your consultant/mentor to further develop your compassionate attunement, working right brain to right brain with your client, with co-creation and co-regulation.
The following are basic requirements and therapists usually take more than 20 hours to be ready for certification. You and your consultant/mentor will check in on your progress to determine your readiness.
The Parnell Institute highly recommends that all EMDR therapists have their own EMDR therapy. It is at the consultants’ discretion to determine if EMDR or another therapy is required to continue with certification at any point in the process.
Membership in the Parnell Institute is included for as long as you renew your certification.
The applicant for the designation of Attachment-Focused EMDR Certified Therapist must meet the following criteria:
1) Basic Training: EMDR Basic Training with a Parnell Institute Trainer – Beginning in 2022, this will be renamed Attachment-Focused EMDR Basic Training.
- Required reading: A Therapist’s Guide to EMDR
- Parts 1 and 2 with a Parnell Institute Trainer
- 10 hours of consultation with one of the Parnell Institute Consultants. 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, processing using interweaves and resources, installation, and closure. Therapists must have clients that they can use Attachment-Focused EMDR with and must complete at least 2 Attachment-Focused EMDR processing sessions during the 10 hour consultation period.
- Part 3 with a Parnell Institute Trainer
Please note that 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, 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.
3) At least 5 years in clinical practice post-licensure
4) 50 EMDR sessions with at least 25 clients.
5) At least 20 hours of consultation by a Parnell Institute Approved Consultant
Documentation from the Approved Consultant(s) you received your consultation from, verifying the number of hours you have received from them and how many of those hours were individual consultation, and how many were group consultation. If you have received consultation from more than one Approved Consultant, you will need documentation 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. Consultation groups cannot exceed more than 6 participants at a time. Consultants-in-Training may provide 10 hours of group consultation. *Only consultation hours received AFTER completion of Basic Training program 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.
During the mentoring process for certification, candidates must show an understanding 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 big 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
6) Attachment-Focused EMDR workshop:
Complete the 12-hour “Attachment-Focused EMDR Healing Relational Trauma and Adults Abused as Children Workshop” either the live or the recorded version by Dr. Laurel Parnell (see www.parnellemdr.com)
7) Required readings: by Laurel Parnell, Ph.D
- Attachment-Focused EMDR: Healing Relational Trauma
- Tapping In
- Rewiring the Addicted Brain with EMDR-Based Treatment.
- Additional Required Reading: The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk
8) An open-book, written examination with the purpose of supporting learning based on A Therapist’s Guide to EMDR and Attachment-Focused EMDR: Healing Relational Trauma by Laurel Parnell, Ph.D. You must get an 80% passing grade.
9) A full write-up of two cases of AF-EMDR 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
- use of interweaves for attachment repair, facilitating blocked processing, and closing incomplete sessions
10) Session Review via option 1 or 2 below:
- Video Session Review: Applicant send a good quality video recording of a 50-60 minute AF-EMDR Session session with a client, peer, colleague, or another certification candidate to a Certification Reviewer 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.
- Live or Zoom Session Review (no Video needed)Videos and Live Sessions are reviewed by currently active AF-EMDR consultants who are Certification Reviewers chosen from the list of authorized Certification Reviewers. Approximately 30 minutes will be set aside for feedback and discussion following each session reviewFor 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
Video AND LIVE SESSION EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK
- The Reviewer 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 Reviewer will make recommendations for additional consultation or training
- 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 hrs 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.
- If a Certified AF-EMDR Therapist does not apply for recertification within one (1) year of the expiration of their prior certification, then proof of 10 hours of consultation and 30 hours of AF-EMDR Continuing Education from any of the following events are required:
- AF-EMDR Retreats focused on Skill Building
- Parnell Institute Annual Conference
- AF-EMDR Workshops by Parnell Institute Trainers or Parnell Institute faculty
- Participation as Facilitator in Part 1, 2, or 3 Training
PRIVILEGES OF ATTACHMENT-FOCUSED EMDR CERTIFICATION
- Listing on the Parnell Institute for Attachment-Focused EMDR website as an AF-EMDR Certified Therapist
- Authorization to call oneself an AF-EMDR Certified Therapist on business cards, flyers, biographical sketches, curriculum vitae, resumes, etc.
- May be granted permission by the Parnell Institute for Attachment-Focused EMDR when making a request to use AF-EMDR intellectual property for any endeavor, e.g., books, courses, workshops, promotions
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.
Fees are subject to change.
- $50 application packet fee
- $150 certification fee
- Video Session Review: $150, paid directly to Certification Reviewer, payable for each session reviewed.
- Live or Zoom Session Review: $150 plus any applicable Reviewer travel expenses, payable for each session reviewed
- Recertification: $150, payable each time recertification occurs (required every two years)
For frequently asked questions regarding our Certification program, visit or FAQ page.
For a list of consultants, visit our Consultant Directory.
For more information, please contact the Parnell Institute.