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Study EMDR Therapy at Otago

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. It comprises of:

In 2023 – Special Topic 1: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (PSME455)

PSME455 is a 30-point paper studied part-time over one year. It covers the internationally recognised EMDR basic training curriculum, with some expansion of the topics.

PSME455 paper information page

In 2024 – Special Topic 2: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

This is a 30-point paper studied part-time over one year. It covers advanced EMDR including its application in complex PTSD and additional conditions.

PSME455 is a pre-requisite for Special Topic 2.

Note that the stand-alone Special topic papers can be credited to a qualification at a later stage.

Offerings from 2025

We plan to offer the above two papers as the components of a Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences endorsed in EMDR.

Ready to apply?

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 experienced clinical psychologists, MaryAnn Stevens and Dr Tal Moore.

Dr Tom Flewett and other practitioners talk about using EMDR

How is it taught?

The PSME455 course will include online lectures plus two block courses of 2 and a half days each, held in Wellington. It 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 80 hours of EMDR therapy with clients by the end of the year. Each block course will be followed up with supervision and consultation.

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 PSME455 – Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing paper details for full eligibility criteria.

What does it cost?

Tuition fees for 2023 will not be finalised until November 2022.

The fee for PSME455 in 2023 is expected to be approximately $2995. This is an indicative fee only based on equivalent postgraduate Health Science papers in 2022.

More information on fees.

How to apply?

To apply to study PSME455 (Special Topic: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing 1) in 2023, 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, 2023'
  3. Log in or create an account. Complete and submit your COP application
  4. Then email Maria Fitzmaurice from Department of Psychological Medicine Wellington campus to confirm you have submitted your COP application
  5. Admissions in Dunedin will then check your eligibility and may email you if further documentation or information is required
  6. If your application meets COP eligibility, then an offer of a place in COP will be generated to your eVision portal. Please accept and continue with “Special Permission” process
  7. To select the EMDR PSME455 paper, please follow Special Permission instructions (PDF)
  8. Then our course director will review each application and if approved for the paper we will invite you to complete the formal University enrolment process

Contact details

Email emdr.uow@otago.ac.nz

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