EMDR therapy in refractory and severe mental disorders


Interactions between trauma and biology in the development of severe mental disorders are complex. In schizophrenia or bipolar disorders traumatic events may have a role in triggering an acute episode or contribute to a low-response to usual interventions and poor outcome. As traumatic experiences can also influence neurodevelopment and brain structure, a more direct relationship between early trauma and psychosis should be explored. Some recent studies on bipolar and schizophrenic disorders show good results treating comorbid PTSD in these cases. In this workshop clinical material about a comprehensive EMDR treatment in severe mental disorders beyond PTSD targets will be showed and discussed from the adaptive information processing model. Differential diagnosis between dissociation and psychosis will be explained, proposing adaptations to the procedures based on the level of traumatization. Video fragments of sessions with refractory bipolar disorder and schizophrenia will be presented to illustrate the relationship between traumatic antecedents and refractory symptoms, and changes observed after doing a specific trauma treatment.


Anabel Gonzalez

Original Work Citation

Gonzalez A. (2016, June). EMDR therapy in refractory and severe mental disorders. In Severe mental disorders. Presentation at the at the 17th EMDR Europe Association Conference, The Hague



“EMDR therapy in refractory and severe mental disorders,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 14, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/23961.

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