Why do I have to die twice? EMDR treatment after experience of clinical death


Clinical death is etiologically non-specific state of reversible cessation of blood circulation and breathing, the two necessary criteria to sustain life. Serious consequences in form of anxiety and/or depression can remains after recovery.

Case report:
Male patient 55 y/o with no prior history of psychiatric difficulties, who experienced clinical death after cardiac infarction. Reanimation was successful and he was discharged with minimal if any cardiac consequences. During the hospitalization in Coronar unit he reacted with major depression, and aftermath with disabilitating anxiety and panic attacks followed by avoidant behavior, obsessive thoughts, social withdrawal, and consequently, very poor quality of life, regardless of the favorable outcome of somatic (cardiac) illness. The patient did not wanted psychiatric medications, so EMDR treatment was introduced. We assess negative cognition: why do I have to die twice? “Subjective unit of disturbance regarding the traumatic event (SUD) was 9”. Adhering to theEMDRprotocol, the therapist helped the patient to re-process the traumatic event (the very moment when he was told that “he was died”). Complete desensitization and reprocessing were accomplished, SUD was 0, VoC was 7. Patient reached pre-morbid level of psychosocial functioning, doing his demanding job, and enjoying his social life.

Near death experience has high traumatic potential with serious psychological consequences. EMDR is efficious treatment for variety of anxiety disorders caused by psychologic trauma due to physical illness. Keywords EMDR; Clinical death; Panic disorder Disclosure of interest The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.






Rusmir Softic
Elvir Becirovic
M. Mirkovic Hajdukov

Original Work Citation

Softic, R., Becirovic, E., & Hajdukov, M. M. (2017). Why do I have to die twice? EMDR treatment after experience of clinical death.  Poster presented at the 25th European Congress of Psychiatry/ European Psychiatry, 41S , S772–S846



“Why do I have to die twice? EMDR treatment after experience of clinical death,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed April 17, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24742.

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