Preparing parents for nonviolent resistance using EMDR


Aggressive and self-destructive behavior among adolescents brings parents to despair. The same goes for school refusal, compulsive gaming, and other problem behaviors. From a systems-therapy point of view the behavior of the adolescent is maintained by a vicious circle in which the frustration and anger of the parents plays an important role. Parents get stuck in a pattern of alternately giving in to avoid escalation and responding to aggression with aggression. The approach of nonviolent resistance (NVR) aims to break this pattern and restore parental authority with a firm but strictly nonviolent approach. This approach, in which parents are coached to stop following orders, respond to inappropriate behavior with a so-called ‘sit-in’ (a silent strike in the child's bedroom) and actively restore the relationship by means of reconciliation gestures, requires a lot of parental self-control. Their feelings of powerlessness, fear, guilt and anger increases parents’ tendency to react in ways that are inconsistent with the recommended approach, even if it is explained in detail and prepared thoroughly. This workshop presents a roadmap for using EMDR in preparing parents to apply the principles of NVR. After a brief introduction of NVR the presenter illustrates how EMDR can be used to desensitize current triggers that lead to anger and despair, how RDIs can help to increase feelings of competence and how future templates increase the success-rate of NVR-interventions.


Sander de Vries

Original Work Citation

de Vries, S. (2016, June). Preparing parents for nonviolent resistance using EMDR. In Family track. Presentation at the at the 17th EMDR Europe Association Conference, The Hague



“Preparing parents for nonviolent resistance using EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 28, 2021,

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