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History of EMDRIA

The EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) is a professional association where EMDR therapy practitioners and EMDR therapy researchers seek the highest standards for the clinical use of EMDR. EMDR therapy is an accepted psychotherapy by leading mental health organizations throughout the world for the treatment of a variety of symptoms and conditions. This website provides information to the greater EMDR community including clinicians, researchers, and the public that our members serve.


  • The EMDR International Association was originally formed in 1995, as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, to provide professional support for clinicians trained in EMDR therapy. EMDRIA was charged with setting standards for training, providing ongoing professional education, providing a forum for discussion and the development of EMDR therapy, and encouraging quality research. The organization began with 473 Charter Members and a very dedicated core of volunteers and was managed by an Association Management Company out of Phoenix, Arizona.


  • The 1st EMDRIA Conference was held in Denver.
  • The 1st issues of the EMDRIA Newsletter were published.


  • EMDRIA opened its own office in Austin, Texas, and hired its first (part-time) Executive Director, Carol York, MSSW, LMSW-ACP. There was an administrative staff of three.
  • The EMDRIA website was launched at
  • The Client brochure, "What is EMDR?" was created.


  • With the desire to add additional member benefits and programs to the organization, it was clear to the Board that EMDRIA needed to change its IRS designation to a 501(c)(6) professional membership organization. So, in January of 1998, EMDRIA filed for a 501(c)(6) designation with the IRS. This new designation allowed EMDRIA to provide many functions for members that were otherwise prohibited as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
  • Regional Coordinator and Regional Meeting program was formally launched.
  • The administrative staff grows to four.


  • EMDRIA launched its professional development programs, which consist of the EMDRIA Credit Program (continuing education in EMDR), and the Certification Program, consisting of designations of Certified Therapist in EMDR and Approved Consultant in EMDR.
  • The EMDRIA Presentation Packet was created for people wishing to make presentations on EMDR. 
  • The brochure, "EMDR for Professionals" was created.
  • The administrative staff grows to five.


  • The Clinician Support Program was formed, as well as several EMDRIA SIG's (Special Interest Groups).
  • Pre-Conference was added to the EMDRIA Conference. 
  • The EMDRIA website was redesigned.
  • The administrative staff grows to six.


  • The EMDRIA Board of Directors invited an external organizational review by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). ASAE evaluated every aspect of EMDRIA and made many recommendations to strengthen the internal structure, to safeguard the integrity of the association, and to help develop programs that would better serve the needs of the members. Those recommendations were implemented.
  • The administrative staff grows to seven.


  • The Board also elected to change to a policy model of governance. Policy Governance clearly outlines the roles of the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and the guidelines by which the association will be governed. From this solid base, EMDRIA is continuing to fulfill its Mission.
  • Masters Series was added to the EMDRIA Conference.
  • The first EMDRIA E-News was sent.


  • The final recommendation of ASAE was implemented, which was the hiring of a full-time professional Executive Director, Scott Blech, CAE.
  • EMDRIA launched its first Listserv, Clinician Support Program Listserv, for those involved in disaster relief work.
  • EMDRIA introduces a Toll-Free telephone number 866.451.5200.


  • EMDRIA conducts its first Member Survey and receives great response.
  • Distance Learning programs made available for EMDRIA Credits


  • Client brochure "What is EMDR?" made available in Spanish.
  • EMDRIA launched their newly redesigned website in March.
  • EMDRIA has grown to more than 4,000 members and continues to develop new services and programs of interest to its members.


  • EMDRIA implemented new curriculum requirements for Basic EMDR Training.
  • The first issue of the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research was published.


  • The Francine Shapiro Library was introduced.  The Library was developed by Dr. Barbara Hensley and Northern Kentucky University.


  • EMDRIA Conference held in Atlanta, GA.


  • EMDRIA Conference held in Minneapolis, MN.
  • The EMDRIA Foundation reaches $100,000 fundraising goal.


  • EMDRIA website redesigned.


  • 25th Anniversary of EMDR celebrated at the annual EMDRIA Conference.  A record number of 1100 clinicians attended.
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