EMDR and domestic violence perpetrators: Exploring a trauma focused approach


In this presentation, we explore the hope that EMDR can provide for male survivors who have been charged with domestic offences. The presenter’s hypothesis that these men require an approach tailored to their trauma histories. Many of the current treatment approaches are inadequate as they fail to recognize their trauma histories, as such having the potential to further silence men from processing their traumatic experiences. The treatment being proposed would continue to incorporate many of the cognitive-behavioural approaches rooted in the feminist program. However, the treatment would also address the cultural oppressions these men experience to conform to the “male code”, while also coping with the impact of attachment injuries and trauma.

Drawing on Masters and PhD-level research, this presentation will overview profiles of men who have been charged domestic offences who are also male survivors of abuse. It is understood that childhood abuse is a predictor of risk for future violence and that this is not often addressed within the current treatment programs for this mandated population. This presentation will propose that an EMDR approach to this population would be effective in addressing the trauma history and shift the violent behaviour seen within their intimate relationship as an adult. By drawing on case examples and outlining our future research with this population, we hope to begin dialogue and engagement with other practitioners on effective interventions for a client population that is often overlooked and shamed rather than healed. Our goal is to begin this dialogue to start the change process in how we work with men in the hopes of alleviating their distress and in the hopes of keeping women and children safe.






Michelle Gibson

Original Work Citation

Gibson, M. (2014, June). EMDR and domestic violence perpetrators: Exploring a trauma focused approach. In EMDR with research symposium (Domna Ventouratou, Chair). Symposium presented at the 15th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland



“EMDR and domestic violence perpetrators: Exploring a trauma focused approach,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 29, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/22934.

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