The EMDR integrative group treatment protocol for patients with cancer


Experiencing cancer is a peculiar stressor within the infrastructure of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because this debilitating disease involves ongoing stressors and is both acute and potentially chronic. The experience can include a wide range of associated adverse events, such as tumor detection, diagnosis, severity of disease, and prognosis; aggressive treatment; disfigurement and bodily dysfunction; side effects of treatment; impaired physical, social, and occupational functioning; and sometimes, recurrence and diagnosis of terminal illness. This article provides a detailed description of the clinical application of the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Integrative Group Treatment Protocol (EMDR-IGTP) Adapted for Adolescents and Adults Living with Ongoing Traumatic Stress for the patients with cancer. This protocol administers the eight phases of EMDR individual treatment to a group of patients using an art therapy format (i.e., drawings) and the butterfly hug (a self-administered bilateral stimulation method to process traumatic material). A previous study (Jarero et al., 2015) showed that after 6 sessions of EMDR-IGTP, there was a significant decrease in PTSD symptoms related to the diagnosis and treatment of different types of cancer in adult women. Effects were maintained at 90-day follow-up. In this article, we discuss how this protocol can be used to effectively provide intensive EMDR treatment to large groups of patients, and we provide detailed instructions for its provision to address one of the major psychological dimensions of cancer: the ongoing traumatic stress responses experienced by patients with cancer.






Ignacio Jarero
Lucina Artigas
Susana Uribe
Laura Evelyn Garcia

Original Work Citation

Jarero, I., Artigas, L., Uribe, S., & Garcia, L. E. (2016). The EMDR integrative group treatment protocol for patients with cancer. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(3), 199-207. doi:10.1891/1933-3196.10.3.199



“The EMDR integrative group treatment protocol for patients with cancer,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 16, 2021,

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