Bereavement, EMDR & structural dissociation of the personality theory


The Poster Presentation will address the therapeutic issues of a complex bereavement case with traumatized history in a bicultural society. EMDR as an integrative psychotherapeutic approach and theory like the “Structural Dissociation of the Personality” as proposed by Nijenhuis, Van der Hart, & Steele complements each other in working with complex bereavement. The Presentation outlines the conceptualization of the case based on this theory, the working process and milestones. As the individual grieves, various levels of structural dissociation are observed. Symptoms are understood in light of the “Apparently Normal and the Emotional Parts of the Personality”. The working procedures within the EMDR framework involve processing materials from different levels of structural dissociation. A reduction of trauma-related symptoms (i.e. depression, phobia, anxiety) over the course of EMDR treatment was observed. Finally, treatment issues as related to attachment, traumatic memory, and daily functioning are discussed in the context of a bicultural urban city.






Lawrence Chen

Original Work Citation

Chen, L. (2008, June). Bereavement, EMDR & structural dissociation of the personality theory. Poster presented at the 9th EMDR Europe Association Conference, London, England



“Bereavement, EMDR & structural dissociation of the personality theory,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed March 1, 2021,

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