A preverbal trauma mastered by dynamic psycho-therapy and EMDR


A special variety of dynamic therapy is presented which was successfully combined with EMDR. A new diagnostic category is tentatively proposed. A man in his twenties, successful in studies and in political and welfare organizations, managed his life by intellectual consideration but with hardly any emotional assessment being at a loss when confronted with demands for a personal stand. He disliked his lack of integrity and indecision which he liberated himself from during the initial three years of therapy in so far as friends and societies were concerned. However, all his intimate relations kept breaking up. He could not account for why and in this context he appeared to be alexithym. When the partner left him it was a total surprise to him, he got very upset in a diffuse way and quite bewildered. At some occasions he got regressive spells of yelling, crying and struggling. They seemed to be flashbacks and not a hysterical acting out. As a trauma might be an etiological factor I proposed EMDR and he accepted to try it. During four EMDR-sessions memories with intense emotional involvement appeared. Altogether the material made me venture a construction of him as a baby yelling and kicking in desperate need for a mother who kept being absent. Shortly afterwards he entered a relation that was satisfying to both him and his partner. The therapy was terminated. In a follow up two years later the relation was still good and he told me that the construction had made him grasp his life-history. A prerequisite for the EMDR-sessions and their effect was the three years of psychotherapy with the focusing of his central problem, but the liberation from this problem could not have been reached without EMDR -at least not in such a short time.






Klas Guettler

Original Work Citation

Guettler, K. (2004, June). A preverbal trauma mastered by dynamic psycho-therapy and EMDR. In psychodynamics and EMDR (B. Lilieblad, Chair). Symposium conducted at the 5th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Stockholm, Sweden



“A preverbal trauma mastered by dynamic psycho-therapy and EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 26, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17333.

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