EMDR and the treatment for angry and violent behaviours


This workshop will assist the EMDR clinician to more effectively treat angry and violent behaviour. It will include an initial review of the prevalence, impact and dynamics of the problem. The common cyclical nature of violent acting out will be depicted as well as other characteristics in a spectrum of hostile behaviours including perpetrator state and trait issues. Current non-EMDR clinical approaches and the evolving field of domestic violence will be reviewed to aid the EMDR clinician in skilfully integrating into existing clinical contexts and to appreciate the unique capacities of EMDR. The primary focus of the workshop will be on special considerations in the successfully tailored use of the 8-Phase Treatment approach. Clients with problematic anger or violent behaviour present many challenges for the often undertrained clinician and commonly avoid, resist and manipulate treatment or drop out prematurely. Keys to successful clinical engagement, risk assessment and case formulation will be highlighted as critical to early phases of treatment. A metaphor based guide to case formulation will be presented and a decision-tree style flow chart will be offered to inform treatment planning including determining client readiness for trauma processing. EMDR offers the potential for desensitizing the trauma that often drives violent behaviour. Considerations in the identification, prioritization and sequencing of targets for processing will be outlined. This will include use of the cycle of violence model for target identification. Multiple clinical examples will be offered to illuminate points including video taped case material.






Mark Nickerson

Original Work Citation

Nickerson, M. (2008, June). EMDR and the treatment for angry and violent behaviours. Presentation at the 9th EMDR Europe Association Conference, London, England




“EMDR and the treatment for angry and violent behaviours,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 25, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/19588.

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