EMDR in complex trauma of perinatal disorder and abuse


This paper reports a case of PN-PTSD (Perinatal Disorder), this being a disorder that is not frequently diagnoses and not classified in DSM-IV, where a technical variation of floatback, i. e., floatback-floatforward on timeline successfully overcame the posttraumatic amnesia, optimized access to the dissociated parts of the Self, and integrated the Internal Family System with EMDR and Ego State Therapy. The sixteen year old patient, S, sniffed heron and practised self mutilation. After two years' therapy the family secret was revealed in a dream and led us towards the abuse. I adopted the theoretical reference models on dissociation reported by M. Steinberg, B. A. van der Kolk, 0. van der Hart, and C. McFarlane's operative EMDR model and Ego State Therapy. The aim of the therapy was to rebuild integrity of the Self and to foster individualization- separation processes. The main goal was create a sense of loyalty during therapy that would allow S to be able to control in transitions in her dissociated mental states. Negotiation between the ego states were created so that S could face the states of terror and anxiety and gradually become integrated. Alter had different names and distinctively different preferences and personality traits, at times those alter took complete executive control of the body and of the self. Initially the alter has names outside the Self, then during the course of therapy their names began with '5'. The dissociated alters have become targets far EMDR. The story of S, revolves round two traumas: PN-PTSD and abuse. Perinatal trauma and uterine perception of her mother's depressive emotional states triggered difficulties in the child latching on to the mother's breast, and the lack of mirroring and affective syntonization caused the failure of internalization processes that lead to identity. 5 was aware of the trauma of abandonment, but not of the trauma of abuse that she defined as 'a deep impenetrable hole'. In order to address the life-threatening trauma. S used an invasive ego-dystonic coping mechanism: dissociation of the object and the Self. By placing the abuse in an alter, S could still feel attached to her family members that abused her, actively or passively using silence. While the DES scale did not provide significant dissociation results, the SCID-LIST furnished high values. The self-mutilation practised by S may represent her hate of her body that did not rebel to the abuse it was subjected to, or, as she said it may represent "a way to punish herself for the guilt of existing or to inflict upon herself physical pain to conceal the anxiety of death". EMDR was a challenge; it reached the preverbal states of the arena of the primary process, it bound with emotions and led her to symbolization, t resolved the traumatic matter that was frozen In the neural networks and determined Self- integration. The Ego States Therapy was a useful tool.






Carmela A. Gambuzza

Original Work Citation

Gambuzza, C. A. (2010, June). EMDR in complex trauma of perinatal disorder and abuse. Poster presented at the 11th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Hamburg, Germany



“EMDR in complex trauma of perinatal disorder and abuse,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/20414.

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