The dance of the cognitive interweave


As Shapiro has often stated, the basic EMDR protocols will work with many clients roughly 30% to 50% of the time. The rest of the time, clinicians have to "jump start" the process. One of the most effective tools we have is various forms of the cognitive interweave. Yet, it is also one of the least understood and used. While the Level II trainings have recently increased their emphasis on the use of the interweave, thousands of clinicians still feel uncomfortable with both the concept and implementation of cognitive interweave.

This presentation is designed to broaden the participants' concept of the cognitive interweave from technique to integral part of treatment. For at its best, the interweave is not used just when things are stuck or to close down a session. Rather it is a sensuous flowing together of presenting problems, client behavior and clinician skills.

Participants will be taught to begin preparation for use of the interweave from the earliest moments of client contact. Early recognition of each client's particular vulnerabilities and schemas is crucial for deciding which information to collect for later use. Equally important are the concepts of timing and style. The acceptance of any offer can be lessened if rushed or attempted prematurely. Establishing intimacy rather than rushing toward a goal is important in any meaningful relationship - clinical or otherwise. Most important is the need for the clinician to recognize the symmetry between the client's deficits and a good interweave.

Last, so as to maximize learning in this presentation, participants will be led through a process where they generate their own potential interweaves. This practice will be done to increase their comfort level and to demonstrate the strength of the connection between effective interweaves and the person's individual life issues.






William M. Zangwill

Original Work Citation

Zangwill, W. M. (1997, July). The dance of the cognitive interweave. Presentation at the 2nd EMDR International Association Conference, San Francisco, CA



“The dance of the cognitive interweave,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 29, 2020,

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