Strengthening parent-child attachments with EMDR


Although professionals and parents are often challenged by the provocative behaviors exhibited by children who have a history of pathogenic care and a diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder, children who-have attachment issues related to more subtle problems in parenting may be equally challenging. Negative family patterns related to poor attachments, once established, can create a negative feedback loop that is extremely difficult to change. EMDR offers a method for resolving trauma and loss and changing beliefs, feelings, and responses that may interfere with trust and the development of affectional bonds. Workshop participants will learn to identify significant precursors to attachment problems for EMDR reprocessing with parents and with children. They will learn methods to engage parents to do their own atttachement work and to change their automatic negative responses to their child's behaviors. Participants will learn methods of bilateral stimulation to strengthen feelings of closeness and connection between parents and children prior to EMDR reprocessing, and methods for effectively utilizing parents during EMDR with children in the treatment of attachment problems. Workshop participants will also learn how storytelling can be integrated into treatment as a method to help solidify new cognitions and develop a positive sense of self.






Debra Wesselmann

Original Work Citation

Wesselmann, D. (2006, September). Strengthening parent-child attachments with EMDR. Presentation at the 11th EMDR International Association Conference, Philadelphia, PA



“Strengthening parent-child attachments with EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 20, 2022,

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