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PSME455 Special Topic: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing I

Teaches the introductory application of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for mental health conditions.

Paper title Special Topic: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing I
Paper code PSME455
Subject Psychological Medicine
EFTS 0.2500
Points 30 points
Teaching period Full Year (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,018.75
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Students applying for this paper will already have a mental health qualification. All students will be required to have (1) full registration with a regulatory authority under the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act (or an acceptable full membership of a Professional Association); (2) Four years of experience in clinical practice in one-to-one therapies, within a mental health field; (3) a university qualification in a relevant mental health field of at least a Post Graduate Diploma level; and (4) a current work role in a therapies setting where they have access to suitable clients

Note: Admission to PSME 455 is subject to approval. Please contact Dr Tom Flewett for more information.

Psychologists: Full registration with the Psychologists Board of NZ, & Current APC

Clinical Psychologists, Counselling Psychologists, completion of training.

Other Registered Psychologists: Training needs to include supervised experience in standardised, structured psychological interventions such as CBT, DBT, IPT at a minimum of Postgraduate Diploma level.

Training in Hypnosis or Neuro Linguistic Programming is not considered to be adequate.

Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists: Full Registration/Membership of their professional body & Current APC

Due to the broad spectrum of these professional qualifications (both undergraduate and postgraduate), there is only minimal focus and teaching of standardised structured psychological therapies such as CBT, DBT and IPT etc. Applicants must have completed further training to Postgraduate Diploma level or higher in relevant psychological modalities. The postgraduate course must include supervision from an advanced practitioner accredited by the tertiary institution.

NB. Some Trainings for these professions focus much more specifically on teaching psychological therapies. Please contact the trainer to discuss, and provide a Curriculum Vitae and transcripts of your study if requested.

Psychotherapists: Full registration with the Psychotherapist Board of Aotearoa New Zealand & Current APC.

  • Postgraduate Diploma level or higher in a relevant mental health field.
  • Registration with PBANZ does not guarantee acceptance.

Counsellors:  Full membership of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors & Current APC. All Counsellors will need to provide written evidence from NZAC of their Full Membership status as this is not currently available on the NZAC website. DPAANZ membership on its own is insufficient.

  • Postgraduate Diploma level or higher in a relevant mental health field.

Art Therapists: Professional membership of ANZACATA – Association for Creative Arts Therapies in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. (Lower tiers of membership are insufficient).

Must have completed a Masters in Art Therapy from an ANZACATA accredited tertiary provider.

Training needs to include supervised experience in standardised, structured psychological interventions such as CBT, DBT, IPT.

Psychiatrists: Full registration with their professional body and vocational registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand.

Other Medical Practitioners: Full registration with the Medical Council of New Zealand

Medical Practitioners with substantial mental health experience may be considered but they must demonstrate relevant academic qualifications, training in psychological interventions and work experience in the mental health sector.

Psychology trainee interns and psychiatric registrars: May be considered, however, the EMDR Basic Training is intensive and the experience of previous trainees has been that it may compromise preparation for exams and development of clinical experience in other therapeutic modalities. Advice should be taken from your current supervisor and from the EMDR Therapy trainer to whom you are applying.

International Applicants: Applicants from outside of New Zealand must also meet the eligibility criteria of their own country's EMDR Association.

Overseas trained clinicians working in NZ must demonstrate (through NZQA if necessary) that their qualifications are equivalent to Postgraduate Diploma level or higher.


Teaching staff

Dr Tom Flewett, Consultant Psychiatrist and Professional Practice Fellow
Department of Psychological Medicine
University of Otago Wellington

Dr Tal Moore, Clinical Psychologist

Maryanne Stevens, Clinical Psychologist

Paper Structure

During the academic year, course participants must attend two 2½ day teaching blocks and a final viva voce. The lecture component will be online. Special Topic 1 (PSME 455) is a half time full-year academic course. The lectures occur on a weekly basis leading up to each block course. Subsequent to each block course there is structured clinical supervision for the clinical practice required. Students are required to complete two written case histories with case conceptualisations and treatment plans and two videotaped interviews.

Teaching Arrangements

This Distance Learning paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

PSME 455 is based at the University of Otago, Wellington campus and is taught by the Department of Psychological Medicine. Teaching is delivered through online lectures and over two 2½ day block courses.

Block One – March.

Block Two – August.

The final viva voce will be held at the end of October.

Block courses include lectures, demonstrations and practica in which students will practice EMDR therapy in pairs working on personal experiences. Attendance at the block courses and final viva voce is compulsory for all participants.

Block course teaching will be run over two and half days usually Wednesday 12.30pm to 5pm, Thursday and Friday 8.30am to 5pm. Students are expected to make all travel arrangements to ensure that they arrive in time to be ready for the block course to commence at 12.30pm on the Wednesday and leave on the Friday after 5pm. Outside of the block course dates, all online lectures will run every Friday morning 9am to 12noon.


Shapiro, F. (2018). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: Basic principles, protocols, and procedures (3rd ed.). NewYork, NY: Guilford.

Hensley, B.J. An EMDR Therapy Primer 2nd Ed. From Practicum to Practice. Springer publishing company, New York. 2016

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students completing PSME 455 will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the key principles of the Adaptive Information Processing Model and the elements of Shapiro’s (2018) model of maladaptive memory networks.
  2. Analyse and interpret findings from history to apply the Adaptive Information Processing Model to develop a shared, written case conceptualisation with their clients.
  3. Incorporate a critical understanding of how cultural influences relevant to New Zealand/Aotearoa inform the case conceptualisation.
  4. Demonstrate advanced skills in the application of structured clinical interviews and standardized assessment tools to assess clients to determine whether they meet criteria for readiness for EMDR reprocessing or need further preparation.
  5. Communicate to clients the model of EMDR therapy in a meaningful way that indicates that the therapist has considerable knowledge of the technique; obtain consent and collaboratively organize a sequence of target memories for EMDR reprocessing.
  6. Independently and with adequate fidelity apply each of the steps in the Target Assessment Phase (Three) and the Reprocessing Phases (Four, Five and Six) of the standard EMDR procedural steps.
  7. Recognize and analyse the aetiology of blocked processing.  Demonstrate flexible skills, including mechanical and TICES strategies and the use of interweaves to initiate processing again.
  8. Critically evaluate current research in application of EMDR therapy.

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system