The integration of EMDR and brief strategic therapy


Directives and strategic interventions were used in therapy for the first time almost half a century ago by a small number of 'communication researchers' at MRI (Mental Research institute) in Palo Alto. California. First time in the history of therapy, the therapist was not alone with the dent in the therapy room. He began inviting to the sessions the family members. people who are contributing to the problem and people who will come up and help to find solutions. The radical difference was that; The Palo Alto Group was not preoccupied with searching the reasons why there is a problem. Their emphasis was to find a solution to the problems the individual or the family is having. Therefore they always asked how change is possible. Another major shift in therapy was that: they focused not on the "intra-psychic" phenomena but on the relationships. Hence the terms 'interactional' and 'systemic'. They assumed that, if you can manage to change the interaction (behavior) or the system (how the family gets organized around the problem) you can overcome the problem. Another contribution was that the new map or the new paradigm was large enough to allow the therapist to incorporate and use varieties of techniques that belong to other approaches without any confusion. In '50s and '60s therapy used to take couple of sessions a week for many years. The Interactional or the Systemic approach heaped reduce the number of sessions per client to an average of 7-15 sessions. They coined the term 'Brief' to described their approach. Traditionally the new approach took several names: Interactional Therapy, Family Therapy, Brief Strategic Family Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy, Solution Focus Therapy and some others. One of the approaches that Family and Marriage Therapists integrate efficiently into their practice is EMDR. Especially when trauma is particularly having a role in the formation of the problem, then EMDR 18 a "life saver" for the therapist. Our learning objectives are: 1. to describe basic principles and techniques of EMDR and Brief Strategic Family Therapy 2 to explain the rationale of integrating EMDR and BSFT 3 to demonstrate skills on designing and implementing an intervention. The innovative view which stands behind this workshop is that the BSFT and EMDR can be efficiently integrated, which has not been frequentiy addressed in previous literature. At times the therapist may need to intervene in the process by using interventions other than BSFT EMDR very nicely serves this purpose without causing any mental confusion on the part of the therapist and the client.






Emre Konuk
Hejan Epozdemir

Original Work Citation

Konuk, E., & Epozdemir, H. (2010, June). The integration of EMDR and brief strategic therapy. Presentation at the 11th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Hamburg, Germany



“The integration of EMDR and brief strategic therapy,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 16, 2020,

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