EMDR therapy protocol for oncological patients


In the context of psycho-oncology today, there is a specific need to develop better tools for psychological assessment, as well as clinical intervention, that address cancer-related stressors. Particularly, focus should be on the events that preceded and underpinned the onset of the organic disease to treat these throughout the entire course of the illness and to help the patient face cancer and its correlates. It is hypothesized that eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy promotes the elicitation of the innate self-healing capacity; its effect is believed to be mainly linked to the interaction between the natural healing process of the immune system and adaptive information reprocessing. Because of the specific characteristics of the "cancer event," seen as a "traumatic event," it is fundamental to develop and adopt specialized protocols focused on the illness. This article outlines a comprehensive model that helps to identify crucial target memories for EMDR psychotherapy with patients with cancer. Examining each stage of the cancer treatment may help in understanding the relationship between the body and EMDR and how the imbalance may be corrected. The EMDR protocol for patients with cancer is explained step by step, in detail, and illustrated with clinical vignettes and through a case history.






Elise Farretta
Thomas Borsato

Original Work Citation

Farretta, E., & Borsato, T. (2016). EMDR therapy protocol for oncological patients. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(3), 162-175. doi:10.1891/1933-3196.10.3.162



“EMDR therapy protocol for oncological patients,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 28, 2022, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24036.

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