The integration of EMDR and family systems therapies



A fundamental tenet of systems theory is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (von Bertalanaffy, 1968). Clearly, this basic principle can be applied to the integration of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and family systems therapy (FST): The combined approach has a synergistic effect, with each of the two treatment components intertwining to maximize the individual effects of the other. This integrative treatment approach can result in profound changes for both the individual and the family. This chapter presents a case study of EMDR treatment of Tara, a 15-year-old girl, who was treated successfully with EMDR. This case is summarized here to serve as a foundation for a discussion of similarities and differences among the various FST models, as well as to provide an overview of an integrative FST and EMDR treatment. The authors suggest how the various integrative treatment approaches described in this book could have been used if the parents had been willing to engage in family therapy with Tara.


Book Section




Francine Shapiro
Florence W. Kaslow
Louise Maxfield

Original Work Citation

Maxfield, L., Kaslow, F. W., & Shapiro, F. (2007). The integration of EMDR and family systems therapies. In F. Shapiro, F. W. Kaslow, & L. Maxfield (Eds.), Handbook of EMDR and family therapy processes (pp. 407-422). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc



“The integration of EMDR and family systems therapies,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 23, 2020,

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