Processing anger and revenge with EMDR


Until now, best practise regarding treatment of anger seems to be mostly focused on improving control over angry outbursts. The treatment as usual is cognitive and behaviour oriented. For trauma related internalizing symptoms (anxiety, panic, nightmares, avoidance, intrusions), we know that EMDR is much more effective than a standard cognitive behavioural approach. Anger, embitterment and revenge are, more often than we think, also trauma-related symptoms and can be viewed as externalizing reactions to severe maltreatment, powerlessness and/or humiliation. A lot of our veterans have to deal with a permanent elevated arousal and an aggressive response style after they return from war. These externalizing symptoms can have devastating effects on marriage, work and daily live. In trauma-literature, there has been a lack of attention to this debilitating and externalizing side of PTSD.

In the workshop, after a brief review of the literature on anger and revenge, a new perspective will be presented in understanding anger and revenge. An EMDR-based protocol will be demonstrated, which can be used as a cognitive interweave and also as a “stand-alone” tool to process anger- and revenge symptoms. Extensive video footage will be used to illustrate the effect of this treatment on a patient with severe, dangerous and obsessive revenge symptoms. The question, when this add-on tool can be used and when it will be preferable to stick to the standard EMDR protocol, will be discussed. In conclusion, questions from the audience will hopefully lead to an inspiring discussion.

Learning objectives:
Being able to apply the theoretical framework of Posttraumatic Anger in understanding anger symptoms in clients; Being able to detect which experiences en people from the past contributed to current anger – and anxiety symptoms and know when to apply the standard EMDR protocol or the Rage, Resentment and Revenge Protocol; and Being able to apply the Rage, Resentment and Revenge Protocol to process and resolve the anger symptoms.






Herman Veerbeek

Original Work Citation

Veerbeek, H. (2013, June). Processing anger and revenge with EMDR. Presentation at the 14th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Geneva, Switzerland




“Processing anger and revenge with EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed February 25, 2021,

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