Healing the Heart of Trauma and Dissociation with EMDR and Ego State Therapy by Carol Forgash
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About Healing the Heart of Trauma and Dissociation with EMDR and Ego State Therapy by Carol Forgash
Healing the Heart of Trauma and Dissociation with EMDR and Ego State Therapy by Carol Forgash: EMDR as a means of trauma resolution has been available to therapists since its discovery in 1987 by Francine Shapiro and is now a treatment of choice and well supported by a large body of scientific research. But until now, its use with clients with dissociative disorders has been difficult or at times even impossible. This book explains why that is the case and brings to EMDR therapists a unique additional tool that will allow them to successfully treat clients with experiences of severe and prolonged trauma: ego state therapy.
The concept that the personality consists of parts or ego states, has been a part of the foundation of psychotherapy since its beginnings in the 19th century. When all goes well, the parts of the personality are in close association with each other and work together as a harmonious whole. But in conditions of extreme stress—war, natural disasters, childhood sexual or physical abuse, and so on—the ego states become fractured and dissociated as a means of survival, to protect the mind from becoming overwhelmed by stressors that would disable it.
Extreme stress gives rise to PTSD, dissociative disorders, attachment disorders, and personality disorders. All of those may involve dissociated ego states that get in the way of direct resolution via EMDR treatment. After all, EMDR cannot target all of the ego states simultaneously—especially the ones that are unknown to the client and therapist! The reason for a stalled EMDR treatment with a client like Ellen may be that there are ego states that are unready, unwilling, or unable to safely access and process trauma memories.
For the authors of this book, the connection between EMDR and ego state therapy is a natural one. Ego state therapy focuses on the disjointed internal family system that is a possible outcome of severe trauma. Once that system is stabilized and given new resources, the ego states are able to participate in the desensitization and reprocessing phase of EMDR. Resolution of the trauma with EMDR will further unite and strengthen the ego state system.
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