The Journey to Certification—It Needn’t Be Difficult!

The Journey to Certification—It Needn’t Be Difficult!

By Deborah Curtis, LICSW
As I have been preparing to present on How to Get certified in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, I have been thinking a lot about my own certification journey. It hasn’t been easy or pretty. It has been for me a time of a lot of personal and professional change. The externship I attended was just over 5 years ago. I was so moved by the experience I started making changes in my life so that I could focus on EFT. In the meantime, my husband and I moved, my children grew up and moved out of the house and my aging parents have had serious health issues. Professionally in these last five years, it took several office moves to finally find what is now my professional home in Newburyport, MA.

In the meantime, I focused on learning EFT. I kept my eye on it and while at first I didn’t openly acknowledge that certification was my goal, I now would recommend it should to be the goal whether you officially pay the money to ICEEFT to be approved or not. The reason this is important, is because EFT is such a beautiful model that it is easy to be in love with the concepts of EFT but not actually do what is needed in session. I have been guilty of doing EFT by “my love of it osmosis” or by trying to sell couples on the ideas of EFT.

My primary recommendation is to have the certification requirements guide you. The most challenging requirement is to get two recordings of your work, one of a stage one couple and one of a stage two (details of this on ICEEFT website and in my presentation) Focusing your clinical work on getting these two recordings is extremely helpful to the learning process because they are the basic building blocks of EFT.

Practicing EFT absolutely takes video taping your work, assessing yourself, getting supervision and peer support. Following the certification requirements helps you focus on the work so that couples know their cycle, de-escalate and have the start of withdrawer re- engagement. It is really easy to think you have this, but it is the work of taping yourself, reviewing yourself and getting supervision that ensure you are doing this. What is takes to be certified is demonstration that you have some of the basic moves of EFT down and this is what we all want right? If we want to help couples, we have to know EFT in our hearts, our minds and in our actions and reactions in the room.

My original motivation in doing the mini training How to Get Certified was to help you be spared some of the pain I went through. When I got certified in 2015, I thought there has to be an easier way. I made this harder than it is. I imagined Papa Bear in the Berenstain Bears  children books. In Berenstain Bears and the Bike lesson, Papa Bear “teaches” his son to ride a bike by doing all the things you should never do while riding a bike like falling off the bike into a puddle or running into a tree. I am hoping that my own “running into a tree” experiences (or what not to do!) can help you to avoid those crashes. While I suppose learning anything requires falling into a few puddles, maybe I can help you fall in a few less.