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EMDR training designed to meet the needs of New Zealand's mental health practitioners

What is EMDR ?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an evidence-based psychological therapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is one of only two therapeutic interventions recommended by the World Health Organisation for the treatment of PTSD , alongside Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). EMDR therapy is increasingly also used for the treatment of other anxiety-based disorders.

Woman looking at therapist's fingers during EMDR

What EMDR training is on offer?

We are proud to be offering Aotearoa New Zealand's first University-based postgraduate training in EMDR .

From 2024, two levels of training are on offer through the University of Otago. Each level will be delivered as a Special Topic 30-point paper, studied part-time over one year.

Special Topic 1: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (PSME 455)

PSME455 covers the internationally recognised EMDRbasic training curriculum, with some expansion of the topics.

PSME455 paper information page

Special Topic 2: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (PSME 456)

PSME456 covers advanced EMDR including its application in complex PTSD and additional conditions.

To apply for PSME456, applicants must have completed PSME455 OR an EMDR Basic Training accredited by EMDRNZ .

PSME456 paper information page

Why study EMDR through Otago?

Our comprehensive EMDR training is designed to meet the needs of New Zealand's mental health practitioners. It is aligned with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and tailored to New Zealand's unique culture and environment.

It will have practical application and enable practitioners from a range of health disciplines to achieve more meaningful clinical outcomes for users of mental health services in our society.

The comprehensive training will carry the strength of a university-accredited programme, including an assessed measure of competence through practical assignments, block course attendance and passing of an examination.

Who is it taught by?

This training is taught by leading EMDR educator, Dr Tom Flewett, a Wellington-based psychiatrist with 40 years of clinical and teaching expertise.

In his practice, Dr Flewett uses EMDR therapy widely, with patients presenting with a variety of mental health conditions in which a trauma is a component. His knowledge of EMDR as such a powerful therapy with applications in so many different areas is a gift which he would like to share with as many clinicians as possible.

The teaching team will also include other  Clinical Psychologists and Psychotherapists who have considerable experience with EMDR .

Dr Tom Flewett and other practitioners talk about using EMDR

How is it taught?

The PSME 455 and PSME 456 courses will include online lectures plus two block courses of 2 and a half days each, held in Wellington. They will use a cyclical teaching approach with theory informing practice and practice informing theory.

Taught through flexible distance learning, the recorded live interactive lectures can be watched repeatedly as and when suits you.

Students will be expected to complete 70 hours of EMDR therapy with clients by the end of each academic year. Each block course will be followed up with supervision and consultation sessions.

Who can apply?

This course is open to registered mental health practitioners including:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Counsellors
  • Art Therapists

EMDR is a complex, structured therapy. The training is intensive, and for acceptance into this programme you may be asked to provide a CV and transcripts of your relevant academic study.

Please check the paper pages for full eligibility criteria.

What does it cost?

2024 domestic tuition fees have been set at $3,103.25.

More information on fees

How to apply?

Special Topic papers at Otago are applied for as a Certificate of Proficiency.

To apply to study either PSME455 or PSME456 in 2024, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Go to the Postgraduate Certificate of Proficiency (COP) qualifications page.
  2. In the "Ready to enrol?" box, choose 'Postgraduate Certificate of Proficiency (COP), Wellington, 2024'.
  3. Log in or create an account. Complete and submit your COP application.
  4. Our Admissions team in Dunedin will then check your eligibility and may email you if further documentation or information is required.
  5. Important – Please also email from the Department of Psychological Medicine Wellington campus to confirm that you have submitted your COP application and advise which EMDR paper you are applying for.
  6. Maria will then guide you with the next steps to make things easy.

Contact details


EMDR Course Director
Dr Tom Flewett
Department of Psychological Medicine
University of Otago, Wellington

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