Course Description

The use of EMDR therapy to treat complex trauma and dissociation has been fraught since early in the existence of the approach (Leeds et al., 2022; Shapiro, 2018). Despite the great emphasis on the practical complexities, there has been, with limited exception, virtually no discussion of the potential and actual ethical and legal ramifications either in contemporary writing or training. Even today, ‘dissociation’ is categorized as a ‘population’ (e.g., Shapiro, 2018, pp. 342-344; EMDR International Association, 2022) and thus typically treated as an ‘advanced practice’ topic rather than as an issue foundational to all EMDR therapy practice (Shapiro, 2018, pp. 95-96 and Appendix E; International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, 2011). As a result, most practitioners who complete accredited EMDR therapy basic training are left unprepared to recognize both dissociation in its many forms and that, without additional, extensive training, they are likely not qualified to treat persons with dissociative symptoms/disorders. This often results in clinicians who either “don’t know what they don’t know yet” or believe they know more than they actually do. Both of these scenarios pose a variety of ethical challenges into which EMDR therapists may unwittingly stumble and become entangled, but which are also preventable. This presentation will define and illustrate these challenges, as well as point to potential remedies. To that end, in the first half of this presentation, we will identify and define concepts integral to the discussion of ethics in the context of EMDR therapy and treatment of dissociation, then highlight the different dimensions and layers of competence and proficiency in EMDR therapy practice. We will begin by reviewing the established standards of care for treating complex trauma and dissociation both more broadly and within an EMDR therapy frame. We will then cross-reference the client safety considerations set forth in the Shapiro (2018) EMDR therapy text and guidelines for treating complex trauma and dissociative disorders, respectively. The second half of the presentation will continue by identifying common threads connecting select professional codes of ethics from different regions of the world with best practices previously discussed. From there, we will offer ‘prototypical’ examples highlighting the risks of both over- and under-compensating for a lack of knowledge, competence, and proficiency in treating dissociation using EMDR therapy methods. We will conclude by distilling the specific clinical-ethical challenges observed in the case vignettes and recommend potential remedies for consideration to enhance EMDR therapy practice, consultation, and training moving forward.

Content & Timeline

This course is presented in two 90-minute segments.

  • Part 1

    Introduction • Defining Terms • EMDR: What You Need to Know • From Ethics to Standards of Care

  • Part 2

    Case Vignettes • Potential Remedies • Where Do We Go From Here?

Learning Objectives

  • 1) Define at least three key terms associated with ethics codes.

  • 2) Name the essential standards of care informing the practice of EMDR therapy to treat complex trauma and dissociation.

  • 3) Define and describe the terms fidelity, competency, and proficiency as they relate to practice of EMDR therapy.

  • 4) Identify at least three indicators of ethical EMDR therapy practice in treating dissociation.

  • 5) Name at least three possible remedies to ethical challenges faced in the use of EMDR therapy to treat dissociation.

Content Overview

    1. Ethical Considerations for Using EMDR Therapy in the Treatment of Complex Trauma and Dissociation, slide handout (2023)

    2. References

    1. Ethical Considerations, Part 1 of 2

    1. Ethical Considerations, Part 2 of 2

    2. CE Credit Information

    1. Beyond the DES-II article

    2. Treatment Guidelines

  • $120.00
  • 8 lessons
  • 3 hours of video content


  • EMDRIA Credit

    D and JAM Trainings is an EC Provider (#20001) and this program (#20001-DL14) is approved for 3 EMDRIA Credits. Eligibility for EMDRIA Credits is restricted to those who have completed an EMDRIA-Approved Basic EMDR Training. Certificates will be available to eligible participants upon completion of the course and learning assessment. Please select the appropriate add-on at registration.

  • CE Credit

    This program offers 3.0 hours of CE credit. D & JAM Trainings has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7284. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. D & JAM Trainings is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

  • Duration & Access

    This is an on-demand course. Upon registration, you will receive access to the course and its content for 90 days from that date. Learning assessments and course evaluations must be completed within that time in order to receive credit for completing this course.

  • Level of Content

    Intermediate-Advanced. Some knowledge of EMDR therapy and treatment of complex trauma and dissociation is presumed.

  • EMDR Training Level

    No EMDR Training Required. This workshop is open to clinicians with no prior EMDR training or are partially trained in EMDR therapy, and is not an EMDR basic training. Completion of an accredited Basic EMDR Training is considered fundamental knowledge required in order to apply the EMDR protocol. Only those who have completed an EMDRIA-Approved Basic EMDR Training are eligible to receive EMDRIA Credits.

  • Target Audience

    Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Counselors, Substance Abuse Counselors.

  • Policies

    Courses are for individual use only. Course purchases are non-refundable and access will expire 90 days after purchase • The course must be completed by the expiration date. Extensions will not be granted • Other questions or grievances, please contact [email protected]

  • Discounts

    Residents of World Bank Tier 2-6 countries may request a discount code by emailing [email protected]. (Note: United States/Canada/Australia/New Zealand/UK are all Tier 1 countries.)

  • Disclosures

    There is no conflict of interest or commercial support for this program.

Registration Fees

Select your registration level based upon your level of training. Certificates of credit are available for an additional fee (EMDRIA Credit - $5. NBCC Credit - $10).