Disorganized attachment in the “worried well”: EMDR in the treatment of adjustment disorders


This workshop will begin with a focus on current Adjustment Disorder literature. This section will highlight problems of intrapersonal and interpersonal attunement as defined from an Interpersonal Neurobiological perspective. Furthermore, literature on attachment theory will explore the importance of contingent communication in the development of an integrated mind. The relevance of intersubjective experience in adaptive information processing will help participants learn to identify experiences of misattuned communication as relational trauma. Information processing will further be explored as related to self states. An emphasis on recognizing “cohesive vs coherent” self states will be made. The understanding of the multiplicity of the mind in this section will provide a context for considering dissociation from an attachment theory perspective. In addition the emergence of cohesive and “disaggregated” self states will be highlighted as a result of the disorganized attachment experience. This particular type of relational trauma will be conceptualized as a betrayal trauma. Disavowal of self states will be established as salient in the vagueness of presenting complaints in the patient with an Adjustment Disorder. AIP case conceptualization of Adjustment Disorders will be established and a focus for the remainder of the workshop. Identification of memory networks associated with disorganized/unresolved experiences and integration of cohesive self states will follow. The 8 phased 3 pronged protocol or modified egostate specific targeting will be highlighted with a case study. Participants will learn to organize a treatment plan around negative cognitions, affects and behaviours reflected in the presenting problem and history.






Anthony Cotraccia

Original Work Citation

Cotraccia, A. (2008, June). Disorganized attachment in the “worried well”: EMDR in the treatment of adjustment disorders. Presentation at the 9th EMDR Europe Association Conference, London, England



“Disorganized attachment in the “worried well”: EMDR in the treatment of adjustment disorders,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 15, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/18226.

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