Open Access Healing the Caregiving System: Working With Parents Within a Comprehensive EMDR Treatment

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This article is an excerpt from the book EMDR Therapy and Adjunct Approaches With Children: Complex Trauma, Attachment, and Dissociation. It presents an original model to work with caregivers of children with complex trauma. This model comprises 3 levels of parental involvement within a comprehensive eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment: psychoeducation, self-regulation, and memory reprocessing and integration (Gomez, 2009, 2012a, 2012b). Mentalization and reflective function (Fonagy & Target, 1997), mindsight (Siegel, 1999, 2010), mind-mindedness (Meins, Fernyhough, Fradley, & Tuckey, 2002), insightfulness (Koren-Karie, Oppenheim, Dolev, Sher, & Etziom-Carasso, 2002), and metacognitive monitoring (Flavell, 1979; Main, 1991) are all constructs linked to the parent's capacity to develop infant's attachment security. However, unresolved trauma and loss appears to impair these capacities in parents. Many children wounded by caregivers lacking such competences had to endure repetitive emotional, physical, and sexual overt and covert abuse; enmeshment and intrusiveness; or on the contrary, detachment and lack of connection. When the caregivers have been the wounding agents, their inclusion and active participation in the overall treatment of their children is fundamental.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication devoted to integrative, state-of-the-art papers about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary journal that stimulates and communicates research and theory about EMDR, and their application to clinical practice.
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