Dysfunctional positive affect: To assist clients with unwanted avoidance defenses



When working with ambivalence, it is helpful to identify the two or more sides of the ambivalence, such as the client who wants to work on a disturbing memory but is too afraid, or the client who wants to have an important conversation with someone but says, "I never get around to it," and so forth. Sometimes, if the client impulsively uses avoidance and is frustrated with her ambivalence, the most accessible point of entry into effectively using EMDR to process a problem may be to target the feeling of relief associated with avoiding that problem. Do not use this with a client who truly does not wish to work with a disturbing thought or memory, but only with clients who have unwanted (and perhaps very strong) avoidance impulses. These procedures were partially derived from Popky's Desensitization of Triggers and Urge Reprocessing (DeTUR) Protocol for using EMDR to treat addictive behaviors. This procedure may be used when the issue or memory that is being avoided has already been identified by the client. The method can even be used in situations where the therapist does not know the specifics of the avoided material.


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Jim Knipe



“Dysfunctional positive affect: To assist clients with unwanted avoidance defenses,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 26, 2022, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19238.

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