Forensics applications of EMDR with traumatized, personality disorders, and dissociative persons


For the past four years, we have been conducting a pilot study to investigate applications of EMDR and other brief therapies to residents in the community corrections program in Colorado Springs (Comcor). Specific treatment protocols, with a brief therapy focus, appear promising, and are now available for use with persons with personality disorders, dissociative experiences, and the pervasive addictive disorders, in addition to the expected trauma history. The workshop will begin with a review of correctional philosophies and treatments, and will then introduce the 20 "criminogenic factors" which scientific meta-analyses and clinical experience suggest as the "necessary and sufficient" variables which must be considered if treatment of offenders is to have any chance of success. These 20 variables are a combination of basic needs (financial, accommodation, leisure/recreation); client history; ongoing personal problems (trauma, emotional, addictions, errors in thinking and other cognitive matters); social and work difficulties; issues related to client motivation; and therapy process factors (the therapeutic relationship, client abreactions and dissociative experiences). The question of dangerousness, to self or others, will also be examined. Most of the remainder of the workshop will be then used to teach Level II EMDR-trained clinicians how to utilize EMDR methods in helping the offender-client to manage, correct, resolve and/or heal these 20 causes of crime. Traditionally, criminal justice agents and psychotherapists have been at odds in attitude and method. In our model, these two approaches will be shown to overlap on most of the 20 variables, and we will promote a working alliance between these two resources, and with other aspects of the system that in any way affects or is affected by the offender. This systems-approach discussion will cover coerced vs. voluntary treatment, report writing, working with the criminal justice community, and the larger social context.






John G. Hartung
Peter Philbrick

Original Work Citation

Hartung, J. G., & Philbrick, P. (1997, July). Forensics applications of EMDR with traumatized, personality disorders, and dissociative persons. Presentation at the 2nd EMDR International Association Conference, San Francisco, CA



“Forensics applications of EMDR with traumatized, personality disorders, and dissociative persons,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020,

Output Formats