Resource methods for women with breast cancer


The diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can involve a series of life-altering, traumatic experiences, leading to distress, reduced quality of life, and long-standing fears of recurrence. Distress may exacerbate physical symptoms, impair coping, impact health behaviors, and reduce compliance with cancer treatment. Psychological treatments have focused on alleviating distress and improving quality of life. Given the growing evidence of the role of stress and behavior on cancer outcomes, a biobehavioral approach to treatment may serve to achieve these traditional treatment goals while also impacting disease course. Shapiro's (2001) eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) protocol for illness and somatic disorders was greatly informed by her interest in mind–body approaches to health and the newly emerging (1992) field of psychoneuroimmunology. The protocol includes first identifying and addressing the realistic fears and challenges a woman faces. Once appropriate, EMDR therapy turns to the reprocessing of past memories, present triggers, and the development of positive future templates of health. This article focuses on situations, usually in the early diagnosis and intensive phases of cancer treatment, when the reprocessing phases of EMDR therapy need to be delayed because of the demands of cancer treatment or insufficient client stability. Resourcing interventions that are compatible with biobehavioral goals are provided, with brief clinical examples.






Katy Murray

Original Work Citation

Murray, K. (2016). Resource methods for women with breast cancer. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(3), 176-188. doi:10.1891/1933-3196.10.3.176



“Resource methods for women with breast cancer,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 13, 2021,

Output Formats