Working with the complexity of defenses in EMDR therapy: Tools and strategies


This presentation answers to the most important needs and difficulties that EMDR therapists face in their every-day practice, and it aims to offer clinical guidelines that can be used with every type of patient, pathology and within each phase of EMDR therapy. When EMDR becomes increasingly relevant in daily clinical practice, the therapist could deal with situations in which the process of the adaptive re-processing can not be easily activated or it blocks due to difficulties and defenses in the patient. It is important to understand the origin, the meanings, and the underlying mechanisms of such defenses and blocks. It is only through this understanding that it will be possible to intervene and unlock the innate process of self-healing of the patient. This practical and advanced presentation will help colleagues to manage and intervene where the patient's adaptive re-processing block (e.g. emotional anesthesia, anti-conservative behaviors, drop-outs, hostile parts, egosyntonia). Moreover, the parts work could be useful for the resolution of the child's symptomatology when the parts of the parent constitute an obstacle to it. Through videos of clinical cases, clear, applicative and functional information will be transmitted to the participants leading them to use the EMDR methodology in a more complete and effective manner.






Maria Zaccgnino

Original Work Citation

Zaccgnino, M. (2018, June). Working with the complexity of defenses in EMDR therapy: Tools and strategies. In EMDR psychotherapy in complex cases and dissociation. Presentation at the at the 19th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Strasbourg, France




“Working with the complexity of defenses in EMDR therapy: Tools and strategies,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 20, 2020,

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