Current trends using EMDR in dissociative disorders


This workshop covers the screening, diagnosis, treatment and pitfalls encountered in using EMDR in Dissociative Disorders. The unexpected finding of dissociative disorders among trauma victims using EMDR requires therapists to be able to recogme and screen for dissociative conditions. Under special circumstances, these patients may have negative reactions which the EMDR therapist should be prepared to manage. Treatment requires a strong alliance, an awareness of dissociation and the management of patients' abreactions. Treatment guidelines have been established for using EMDR which can guide therapists as our expmence with dissociative disorders evolves. A careful informed consent should be obtained and an assessment of the patient's inner resources made so that ffagile patients with histories of chronic trauma are not inadvertently injured. Further, EMDR is not designed as a tool for "memory work" but for the reduction of distress for events or experiences already known. Lectures, discussions, handouts and video tape demonstrations show the application of EMDR in a variety of conditions. The results of a pilot study using EMDR in 15 patients with 33 target symptoms will be presented. In this limited sample, between 50% and 60% of patients achieved significant reduction of their distress levels on selected targets. A variety of responses occurred including fusions, generalization effects, and establishmg inner dialogue. In addition, a variety of problems arose resulting in treatment failures or cessation of EMDR. These include such reactions as flooding, escalation of anger, paranoia and resistance to the treatment. The implications of these findings suggest that cautious patient selection and use of EMDR has a potential use and that as research in this population continues, strategies for overcoming problem areas can be developed.






Walter Young
Gerald Puk
Curtis C. Rouanzoin

Original Work Citation

Young, W., Puk, G., & Rouanzoin, C. C. (1995, June). Current trends using EMDR in dissociative disorders. Presentation at the EMDR Network Conference, Santa Monica, CA



“Current trends using EMDR in dissociative disorders,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed November 30, 2020,

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