Resolving preverbal trauma within complex trauma through EMDR


Most patients with complex trauma have experienced adverse experiences at a very early stage, often in the relationship with caregivers. These preverbal trauma have contributed to injuries that are specific to attachment, as well as the foundations of Self and so contributes seriously to many problems.
Can preverbal trauma be treated with EMDR? What specific symptoms indicate preverbal trauma? How can this material be addressed, as it is almost always obscured by amnesia?
How can this work on preverbal material be incorporated into the treatment plan? What exactly does EMDR work on preverbal trauma look like? Why addressing preverbal trauma specifically? Are there pitfalls and blockages to be aware of and which strategies are efficient to overcome them?
Based on the pioneering work of Katie O’Shea to access and reprocess preverbal trauma,
we will discuss these questions and explain a clear approach using the 8 phases of the EMDR protocol specifically for preverbal trauma. We will discuss blockages, pitfalls and the strategies to overcome them within an overall treatment structure, which takes into account the treatment plan and its adaptation to the requirements of the phenomenology occurring in complex traumatized patients.






Helene Dellucci

Original Work Citation

Dellucci, H. (2021, June). Resolving preverbal trauma within complex trauma through EMDR. Presentation at the 20th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Virtual



“Resolving preverbal trauma within complex trauma through EMDR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 26, 2021,

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