APD Victim Services to hold free training for counselors

The Austin Police Department Victim Services Unit will be offering free training to Austin-area counselors in exchange for pro bono counseling for trauma survivors.

APD says that it has $50,000 to train selected counselors in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, which focuses on emotions and symptoms that result from a traumatic event, and assists the brain’s information processing system in moving toward natural healing and positive mental health. 

EMDR training takes two weekends of in-person training and a series of consultation sessions after each weekend. Selected counselors will be expected to participate in all of the required consultations, says APD. The cost of textbooks is not included as part of the training and participants will be required to purchase textbooks with their own funds.

EMDR training will be offered for free to Austin-area counselors in exchange for pro-bono counseling for trauma survivors referred by Austin police.

EMDR training will be offered for free to Austin-area counselors in exchange for pro-bono counseling for trauma survivors referred by Austin police. (FOX 7 Austin)


The deadline to apply is April 11, 2021, at 5 p.m. Selected participants will be contacted by APD Victim Services.

Fees for this training normally range from $2,000-$4,000, according to APD, but selected participants will receive this training free of charge in exchange for an agreement to partner with APD Victim Services and provide survivors of trauma with pro bono counseling sessions. Clients will be referred to the counselors by APD Victim Services staff following completion of training.

Selected counselors will also receive lifelong access to the trainers and staff for EMDR consultation purposes.

Training will be provided by Rick Levinson, LCSW in August and by Dr. Christine Sprowls, PsyD from June 16-18 and September 17-19.

Interested counselors must be licensed as an LPC, LMFT, LCSW, or PsyD, or be pursuing licensure, must commit to 50 pro bono sessions within the next three calendar years, and must submit a letter of commitment to waive waitlists and session limits for referred clients. APD says three years of experience working with trauma survivors is preferred. 

In order to apply, interested counselors are asked to submit the following to APDemdr@gmail.com:

  • Letter of interest detailing
  • How you meet the requirements
  • Which training(s) you are available to attend
  • Where you will provide the pro bono sessions as APD is not able to provide space
  • Contact information
  • Resume
  • Highlight areas of expertise, languages spoken, and other relevant skills
  • License number
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your capacity to work with survivors of trauma (include at least one past or present supervisor)


APD says that incomplete applications will not be considered and requests if possible, that items be submitted together.

Counselors who work for an agency, nonprofit, or government entity must include a Letter of Agreement and Commitment from the agency stating that they are allowed to use their place of work, that all waitlists, fees, and session limits will be waived, and any limitations or guidelines.

Anyone needing more information can contact APD Victim Services by email or by calling 512-974-5037.