Enhancing attachments: Conjoint couple therapy



This chapter addresses the integration of EMDR processing when working with couples in conjoint therapy, specifically targeting the problem of attachment issues. When precautions are taken, applying EMDR with couples produces the potential for a deepand mutually productive experience. EMDR’s uniquely rapid processing of interrelated attachment issues lessens the intensity of “triggers” and can free the couple from their long-standing impasses. Many couples struggle with over- or under-reactivity, generally referred to as “triggers”. These triggers are typically rooted in early attachment injuries, as well as injuries generated from the couple’s own relationship. While EMDR is most commonly used in individual treatment, it can also be bridged to the relationship system as a powerful and effective treatment modality for couples. The therapeutic effect of the partners witnessing each other’s EMDR processing work is often enormous. Done conjointly, each partner becomes increasingly more compassionate and understanding of the other. Ultimately, progress is hastened … enhancing the therapy, and allowing the couple to develop new and more fulfilling connections and attachments. In sequence, this chapter covers the following areas: attachment issues from a Family Systems perspective; therapeutic guidelines for EMDR usage with couples; identification of “small t” attachment triggers; indications and contraindications; a specific EMDR protocol for work with couples; two detailed couples case illustrations and treatments, focused on problems rooted in attachment issues; and finally, reflection and discussion of the advantages and benefits for integrating EMDR into work with couples.


Book Section




Mark D. Moses

Original Work Citation

Moses, M. D. (2007). Enhancing attachments: Conjoint couple therapy. In F. Shapiro, F. W. Kaslow, & L. Maxfield (Eds.), Handbook of EMDR and family therapy processes (pp. 146-166). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc



“Enhancing attachments: Conjoint couple therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17767.

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