The method of constant installation of present orientation and safety (CIPOS)



The CIPOS method can be used to extend the healing power of EMDR to many clients who are potentially vulnerable to dissociative abreaction because of a dissociative personality structure, or because of the client's intense fear of their own memory material. With CIPOS, the client is first helped to experience a full orientation to the present safety of the therapist's office (as assessed and verified through the Back of the Head Scale [BHS] procedure), and then is assisted very briefly to access the disturbing material in a highly controlled and predictable way. Through alternating between safety and carefully titrated exposure to trauma, back and forth, the client can learn, often very quickly, the valuable skill of emerging from a traumatized ego state back to a safe orientation to the present. Bilateral stimulation (BLS) is used to constantly strengthen or install in the client's awareness a clear subjective sense of being present in the immediate real life situation (i.e., the therapy office). This method is described to clients during the Preparation Phase, prior to the Desensitization work, and then may be used during the actual desensitization of a particular highly disturbing traumatic memory. By constantly strengthening the person's present orientation through BLS and carefully controlling the amount of exposure to the trauma memory, the individual is more easily able to maintain dual attention. Through the use of the CIPOS procedure, processing of the memory can proceed more safely, that is, with much less danger of unproductive, dissociated reliving of the traumatic event.


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“The method of constant installation of present orientation and safety (CIPOS),” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 9, 2021,

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