Practicing within our competence:  New techniques create new dilemmas


This article focuses on the ethical and legal aspects of family therapy students' use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) with clients. Furthermore, the article discusses the ethical necessity for clinicians and supervisors to practice within the limits of their competency. EMDR is a particularly excellent example because of the unknown mechanisms at work to create change in clients. Therefore, there is no common language or knowledge base that supports the use and supervision of EMDR in the same way that practicing or supervising a variety of "traditional talk" counseling techniques might be appropriate without specialized training. The majority of supervisors of students and practicing clinicians were trained in variety of theoretical orientations. The training experience is most certainly one in which the training facility and the supervisors want to encourage learning new and helpful techniques for facilitating change with the clients. It is incumbent on the facility to require the appropriate level of training and experience before students venture into new techniques.






Patricia Stevens

Original Work Citation

Stevens, P. (2000, July). Practicing within our competence: New techniques create new dilemmas. Family Journal, 8(3), 278-280. doi:10.1177/1066480700083011



“Practicing within our competence:  New techniques create new dilemmas,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 14, 2021,

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