Trauma treatment (EMDR) as part of CBT for body dysmorphic disorder


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a widely used and acknowledged treatment modality for PTSD but is still in its experimental phase for other disorders, such as BDD. With EMDR, the vividness and emotionality of unpleasant mental representations, which resulted from one or more traumatic events can be, reduced (Günter & Bodner, 2008). BDD patients often report traumatic events preceding the development of BDD and intrusive images referring to these events (Osman, et al., 2004). Brown et al., (1997) were the first to treat BDD patients for their traumas, using EMDR. The results of their case series were promising but lacked a theoretical base. The learning theoretical model of BDD provides a strong base for the selection of interventions for individual patients and the application of EMDR. This presentation outlines how to select the essential target memories for EMDR treatment in BDD patients. One way is to order etiological and/or aggravating events meaningfully on a time line and select those memories for processing which preceded an increase in BDD symptoms. The other way is to select targets related tot anxious expectations and avoidance behaviour. Video fragments illustrate the EMDR process in a BDD patient.






Carlijn de Roos
Yanda R. van Rood

Original Work Citation

de Roos, C., & van Rood, Y. R. (2011, August-September). Trauma treatment (EMDR) as part of CBT for body dysmorphic disorder. In Case conceptualization and treatment of body dysmorphic disorder. Symposium conducted at the 41st EABCT annual congress, Reykjavk, Iceland



“Trauma treatment (EMDR) as part of CBT for body dysmorphic disorder,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020,

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