OCD: Anxiety, rituals, co-morbidity or altered state? Treatment outcomes with EMDR


Trauma-generated OCD repeats the trauma through its own ritual behavior patterns. This altered state re-traumatizes the core personality through the repetition of rituals similar to the original trauma. The presenters hypothesize that trauma-based OCD is an altered state not co-morbid with diagnosis for dissociative disorders. This OCD persona served the dissociative adult cope with traumatic memories changing and influencing reactions to ongoing trauma, life choices, and other behavior patterns.

This aim of this workshop is to focus on the development of trauma-based, anxiety-motivated dissociative states. Life in the shadow of chronic anxiety stemming from living under constant and consistent life-threatening conditions produces a (sub)-population of persons suffering from PTS/D. The anxiety and fear from elements of unprocessed traumatic events are retained and embedded in the body and are repeatedly triggered in daily life. This PTSD population dissociates into anxiety-based altered states ranging along a continuum from mild tension to phobias, panic attacks, denial, PCD, aggression, indifference and apathy and finally full blown trauma generated OCD.

The presenters provide cross-cultural examples demonstrating how ongoing threat of man-made or natural disasters often leads to a dissociative OCD state. Case examples are explored which demonstrate how processing with EMDR effectively enables resolution and change. EMDR is particularly useful in processing the “anxiety” via current behavior patterns.

Objectives: 1) to examine the co-morbidity aspects of trauma-based OCD and dissociation 2) to present the parallel continuums of types of stress and anxiety (on the intensity and severity axis 3) to compare the differences and similarities in behavioral patterns in different cultures under the stress of constant threat of annihilation (man-made vs. natural threats) 4) to demonstrate the effectiveness of EMDR on trauma induced OCD, through case illustration and discussion.






Frances R. Yoeli
Tessa A. Prattos-Spongalides

Original Work Citation

Yoeli, F. R., & Prattos-Spongalides, T. A. (2004, June). OCD: Anxiety, rituals, co-morbidity or altered state? Treatment outcomes with EMDR. In anxiety disorders and EMDR (A. de Jongh, Chair). Symposium conducted at the 5thEMDR Europe Association Conference, Stockholm, Sweden



“OCD: Anxiety, rituals, co-morbidity or altered state? Treatment outcomes with EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 28, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19383.

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