Prerequisite: Must complete IFS-Informed EMDR before enrolling in this course.

Approved for 3 EMDRA CE!


Discovery - 3.0 CE

IFS-Informed EMDR with Blended Protectors

Discovery: An EMDR process that uses IFS & Coherence Therapy to bridge the Preparation to the Assessment & Desensitization phases.


This 3 hour course dives deeper in exploring the Discovery process outlined in IFS-Informed EMDR. It contains a narrated powerpoint presentation followed by three annotated session videos, video recordings from individual & group consultations explaining & summarizing the process, and a bonus video discussing a flow chart developed by a group member.

Course Description

Discovery is a term taken from Coherence Therapy (Unlocking the Emotional Brain [2012], Ecker, et als). It means uncovering the emotional truth behind a symptom derived from implicit memory. It will make sense given the original context. Implicit memories are unconscious and reflexive, and they are at the heart of most of the symptomatic behavior and reactions we see in our clinical practices.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy guides us to understand that in healing work, we are almost certainly going to encounter protectors. These parts are responsible for what might otherwise be seen as resistance, acting out, etc., but they always have underlying positive intentions. They are embedded within an entire protective system of parts.

When we select a trauma target in EMDR, we necessarily activate this protective system, which can very often be complex and vigorous. Often, pushing forward with processing our selected target makes things worse. But backing up and doing intensive resourcing delays productive processing, sometimes indefinitely. This is the dilemma EMDR therapists routinely face.

These ideas from Coherence Therapy and IFS intersect at one point in the EMDR process, on the verge of the Assessment Phase. It is here that we can utilize sets of alternating bilateral stimulation in a new way to process protectors. A way that is in-between resource installation and desensitization, and has advantages of both.

The Discovery process is a bridge from the Preparation Phase of EMDR to the Assessment Phase and beyond. It will clarify the protector's positive intention, uncover the original problems the symptom is designed to solve, and stimulate emerging Self-Presence. All this clears the way for a conventional Assessment Phase and Desensitization with functional dual attention.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the difference between the conventional EMDR Assessment Phase target elements and the Discovery target elements.
  2. Name two beneficial by-products of the Discovery process.
  3. Describe two primary tasks of the therapist during Discovery.
  4. Name two ways Discovery employs Onno van der Hart’s suggested modifications of EMDR processing for complex clients.

The Man-in-the-Maze: Discovery as a Labyrinth

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. It represents a journey to our very center and back out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

Labyrinths derived their name from Greek mythology, where the Minotaur, a legendary half-man, half-bull monster whose survival depended upon sacrifices, was defeated by the hero Theseus. Theseus, scheduled to be sacrificed, entered the unsolvable labyrinth with a sword and ball of thread, slayed the monster and used the thread to retrace his steps back out of the abysmal labyrinth.

Deadalus, the skilled architect, craftsman, and artist hired by King Minos to design & build the Labyrinth, was immediately imprisoned & exiled by Minos in order to maintain secrecy of its existence. The myth contains the elements of a secret, well-crafted, and puzzling design whose architect is exiled - much like the stories that unfold in the labyrinths which our clients' inner protectors construct.

This illustration is the Native American Hopi symbol Man in the Maze design, which symbolizes experiences and choices we make in our journey through life. The Discovery process parallels this inner journey to the core of one's suffering, followed by a transformation, before returning to the outer world and renewed life.

Prerequisite: Must complete IFS-Informed EMDR before enrolling in this course.

Your Instructor

Bruce Hersey
Bruce Hersey

Bruce Hersey, LCSW, is an Approved Consultant in EMDR and also a Certified IFS Therapist.

Having completed IFS Levels I, II & III Training, and as a repeat Level One Program Assistant, he has passionately imparted his deep understanding of the model by teaching numerous introductory IFS workshops, leading IFS consultation groups, and providing individual IFS consultation.

He has presented at the IFS International Conference several times, and has been teaching workshops on the integration of EMDR & IFS since 2013.

Additionally, Bruce is also an Approved Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis through ASCH and a Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor through AASECT.

Contact Bruce for online consultation (zoom video) on the integration of EMDR and IFS, or toward certification in EMDR, IFS, Clinical Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy at $150 for a 45 minute session.

Course Curriculum

  Vital Information
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Group Consultation Video: Shifting from Phase 2 to Phase 3 and the Enhanced Assessment Phase Template Handout
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Consultation Video: Discovery
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days after you enroll
  Bonus! Group Consultation: Flow Chart
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and you have have six months to complete it.
How long do I have access to the course?
You have access to this course even after completion for the same six months, starting on your enrollment date.
Does the course offer EMDRIA continuing education credits?
This course is approved for 3.0 CE distance education through EMDRIA (EC provider #17025), and psychologists, social workers, and counselors through Commonwealth Educational Seminars.
Are other professional continuing education credits available?
This course is approved for 3.0 CE distance education through EMDRIA (EC provider #17025), and psychologists, social workers, and counselors through Commonwealth Educational Seminars.
Are there any prerequisites for this course?
Yes, The basis of this course is covered in two previous courses; IFS for EMDR Therapists (If you have little or no IFS background), and IFS-Informed EMDR (which integrates these two models based on prior knowledge of both). Please do not enroll in this course without completing the latter, as it relies on information you will have learned there.
How do I contact the school owner?
The owner/operator of can be reached by email at [email protected] or 1-814-944-3852.
Can I get IFS recertification CE's for this course?
Yes, when you apply for IFS recertification, send the Commonwealth Educational Seminars certificate with your application to the IFS Institute.

I hope you and your clients derive great benefits from the ideas and methods,

and you have an enjoyable learning experience.


Bruce Hersey

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