Certification In Progressive Counting – Why, And Why Now?

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February 05, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Have you wanted EMDR training but it was too expensive? If so, you’re not the only one. When I ask this question at trauma workshops, nearly every therapist who has not been trained in EMDR says they wish they were, but for the cost.

At present, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is the most effective and efficient of the well-established trauma treatments (Ho & Lee, 2012; Greenwald et al, 2014), and it is well tolerated by clients. I’ve published numerous papers and books on EMDR, and (after EMDR’s originator) TI & CTI is the leading source of EMDR training in USA/Canada. Did I mention that I think EMDR is great? The problem is that EMDR is a complex treatment that’s hard to get good at (Greenwald, 2006), and therefore resource-intensive to learn.

Progressive counting (PC) is a recently developed trauma resolution procedure based on the counting method. PC matched EMDR in efficiency and effectiveness in a small pilot comparison study (Greenwald, McClintock, & Bailey, 2013). In a larger comparison study (N=109) with therapists as clients (Greenwald, McClintock, Jarecki & Monaco, 2014), again no difference in effectiveness was found. However, PC was rated as less difficult than EMDR (from the client perspective), and PC was 37.5% more efficient than EMDR. While more research needs to be done, it is already evident that PC is at least in the same league as EMDR in effectiveness, may be better tolerated by clients, and is likely more efficient. PC is also much simpler to master, so PC training takes only 2/3 as much time as EMDR training, and costs less than half.

The PC training programs have been around for a while; the book came out last year. We held off on offering PC Certification until the second comparison of PC and EMDR was completed. Now it’s time.

You may be wondering why the field needs yet one more credential, one more piece of paper. Some years ago I expressed similar misgivings while serving on the EMDR International Association committee that developed EMDR certification. But to my surprise, the certification program was actually useful, in that:
•    Many more people were actually obtaining the (required for certification) consultation and continuing education experiences that we believed would help them to become better at EMDR.
•    The certification did provide an indicator of which therapists were more likely to be competent – very handy when making a “blind” referral out of state.

Requirements for PC Certification include live in-person training in PC, some follow-up group consultation, passing a written test (based on the book), plenty of practice with clients, and endorsement by a PC Consultant who has seen your work. We did our best to balance useful/meaningful criteria with a sensitivity to time and cost, and we think we succeeded.

PC Certification is not for everyone. But if you’re going to be getting good at PC, you’re probably going to do all the things, anyway, that would qualify you for Certification. So you might like the status and recognition -- and unlimited access to group consultation -- that comes with the credential.

References

Greenwald, R. (2006). The peanut butter and jelly problem: In search of a better EMDR training model. EMDR Practitioner.

Greenwald, R., McClintock, S. D., & Bailey, T. D. (2013). A controlled comparison of eye movement desensitization & reprocessing and progressive counting. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma, 22, 981-996.

Greenwald, R. & McClintock, S. D., Jarecki, K., & Monaco, A. (2014). A comparison of eye movement desensitization & reprocessing and progressive counting among therapists in training. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Greenwald, R., McClintock, S. D., Siebel, S., Doss, J., Halvorsen, L., Lamphear, M. L., Priest, E. G., & Gray, A. K. (2014). A meta-analytic comparison of EMDR to other trauma treatments: Effectiveness, efficiency, and acceptability to clients. Manuscript in preparation.

Ho, M. S. K., & Lee, C. W. (2012). Cognitive behaviour therapy versus eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for post-traumatic disorder: Is it all in the homework then? Revue Européenne De Psychologie Appliquée/European Review of Applied Psychology, 62, 253-260.



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