Culturally attuned EMDR therapy with an immigrant woman suffering from social anxiety

Description

The prevalence of cultural elements in trauma-based disorders has been widely neglected in evidence-based treatment of immigrant populations. This case report explores how culturally based trauma in immigrant populations may be addressed in EMDR therapy. The approach is illustrated with the case of a young Hispanic woman suffering from the effects of multiple distressing cultural transitions and their significant impact on her wellbeing.

Alma’s (pseudonym) case is significant, because upon adjusting to her California cultural context, she spent her adolescence back in Mexico where she had difficulty adjusting again. Her return to California created yet another complicated cultural adjustment phase for Alma. As a result she developed extreme social anxiety to the point of developing panic attacks that ultimately had her avoid social situations at her university and later at work.

Alma’s situation was evaluated with a holistic lens, attending to social, cultural, and societal contexts along with EMDR specific assessment categories. In the course of EMDR therapy Alma became increasingly able to integrate memories about her painful transition within various cultural contexts and to re-evaluate the negative cognitions associated with them.

Alma’s case demonstrates how effective steps for developing a culturally attuned EMDR therapy process allow for integration of complex trauma work. It ultimately positions EMDR therapy as a primary treatment modality for complex trauma in the face of increasing global migration.

Format

Book Section

Language

English

Author(s)

Barbara Lutz

Original Work Citation

Lutz, B. (2017). Culturally attuned EMDR therapy with an immigrant woman suffering from social anxiety. In M. Nickerson's (Ed.), Cultural Competence and Healing Culturally-Based Trauma with EMDR Therapy: Innovative Strategies and Protocols (pp. 113-128). New York, NY: Springer Publishing

Collection

Tags

Citation

“Culturally attuned EMDR therapy with an immigrant woman suffering from social anxiety,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed August 14, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24012.

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