Processing dissociative phobias with EMDR


The standard EMDR protocol (SP) was designed for the treatment of simple PTSD, and when it´s used on this cases, EMDR is a very powerful therapy. But when SP is applied on complex trauma and dissociative disorders 20% of patients may become de-compensated. The importance of the stabilization phase has been remarked by different authors. The existent proposals are to use interventions coming from different approaches sometimes enhanced with bilateral stimulation. Standard procedures used for simple PTSD must be adapted and modified for working with dissociative disorders. To do this is important to understand from recent research work what we know about the effects of EMDR therapy. We will try to dynamically integrate these features with conceptualizations coming from the EMDR Adaptive Information Processing Model (AIP) and the Theory of the Structural Dissociation of the Personality (TSDP) TSDP emphasizes the importance of working with dissociative phobias prior to trauma work. In the stabilization phase the work on the phobia of dissociative parts and of attachment (and the attachment with the therapist) is the most important one. We will show with clinic cases the effect of this intervention on improving internal communication and collaboration and overcoming therapist-patient relationship problems.

Learning Outcomes For those who are not EMDR therapists this workshop will help to understand how EMDR conceptualizes the work in structural dissociation from the Adaptive Information Processing Model (AIP). For people who are not expertise on Theory of Structural Dissociation of the Personality (TSDP) a brief description of dissociative phobias and their importance in the work with dissociative disorders will be put forward. The assistants will watch videos of therapies with different patients, in which EMDR is applied using dissociative phobias as targets. Differences with ego states therapy without introducing bilateral stimulation and with standard EMDR protocol will be observable in the case-examples and will be explained in detail. This work represents a different way of using EMDR to stabilize the patient and prepare her/him for future traumatic memory processing.






Anabel Gonzalez
Dolores Mosquera
Natalia Seijo

Original Work Citation

Gonzalez, A., Mosquera, D., & Seijo, N. (2010, April). Processing dissociative phobias with EMDR. Presentation at the 2nd Bi-Annual International European Society for Trauma and Dissociation Conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland




“Processing dissociative phobias with EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 15, 2021,

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