April 30 and May 1, 2005 at Oakland's Preservation Park
to Return to Mini-Conference Main Page
& Attachment-Wounded Clients for EMDR
by Shirley Jean Schmidt, MA, LPC
Dysregulated, dissociative, attachment-wounded clients can be especially
challenging to work with. They’re often overwhelmed by painful emotions
that are difficult to manage. They often feel like wounding from the past
is happening right now. Stabilizing these clients well is essential for
safe and effective EMDR. This workshop will introduce a collection of
unique ego state therapy interventions from the Developmental Needs
Meeting Strategy (DNMS), for stabilizing these clients. In the background
section Shirley Jean will discuss the differences between attachment
wounds and trauma wounds, and why that matters. She’ll offer a brief
primer on parts of self and how they get triggered. She’ll discuss how
we can predict EMDR when we know the intensity of client attachment wounds
and degree of accessible adaptive information. Next, she’ll describe
a simple protocol for mobilizing a team of vetted Resources, and for
establishing a Special Safe Place for wounded parts to hang out. Then
she’ll describe ways to talk directly to triggered wounded child parts
(1) to welcome them; (2) to, attune, validate, and empathize with them;
(3) to get them bonding with a Resource Team who can meet their emotional
needs; (4) to orient them to present time; and (5) to reassure them that
their perception of “reliving” an old trauma is just a harmless
recording playing back. When these interventions are provided together, in
the right order, they have a profound stabilizing effect—enough to
neutralize the child part’s trigger. And when repeated over time, with
more and more child parts, the client begins to feel more stable.
Eventually clients will report triggering episodes happen less often, have
less peak intensity, and resolve more quickly. Once a client is
sufficiently stable, EMDR processing becomes an option. The workshop will
include a few brief practice exercises and a video of a real therapy
Shirley Jean Schmidt, MA, LPC, is a Licensed
Professional Counselor near Portland, Oregon. She was trained in EMDR in
1995. She’s a former EMDRIA-Approved Consultant. She began integrating
EMDR with ego state therapy in the late 90s – inspiring her to develop a
complimentary therapy approach, the Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy (DNMS).
She’s trained hundreds of therapists in the DNMS over the last 20 years.
She recently expanded her model to include these powerful stabilizing
interventions. She has published many professional articles in the EMDRIA
Newsletter and given several presentations at EMDRIA conferences about
integrating EMDR with ego state therapy. She holds the patent on the
TheraTapper, an EMDR tapping device.
be able to…
Describe how to guide clients to mobilize a
team of vetted Resources.
Describe how to guide clients to establish
a Special Safe Place where wounded parts can rest and play.
Describe how to directly dialogue with a
wounded child part, to attune, validate, and empathize.
Describe how to orient a wounded child part
to present time.
Describe how to
reassure a wounded child part that her perception of “reliving” an old
trauma is just a harmless recording playing back.
This section will describe the difference between childhood attachment
wounding and trauma wounding in terms of unmet developmental needs. It
will explain how wounded child parts form during these wounding
experiences, and how these parts of self get triggered in adulthood.
It will touch on how the AIP model aligns with research into memory
reconsolidation. Will include some discussion of how we can predict EMDR
outcomes by understanding the intensity of client attachment wounds and
degree of accessible adaptive information. By establishing a
fully-embodied healing connection with an internal Resource Team, wounded
child parts can heal attachment wounds, boosting accessibility to adaptive
Objective 1: Participants will
be able to describe how to guide clients to mobilize a team of vetted
A robust Resource Team is essential for stabilizing wounded parts. The idea
of Resourcing to prepare clients for EMDR, was introduced by Andrew Leeds
(1998) and others followed (Fisher, 2001; Keissling, 2009; Korn &
Leeds 2002; Manfield, 2010; Yoeli & Prattos, 2009). This presentation
will teach a unique variation of this concept developed by Schmidt (2017).
Clients are given a menu of options to assist them in mobilizing
Resources—rated as GOOD, BETTER, and BEST. The BEST
rating goes to Resource parts of self that deeply love and enjoy nurturing
and protecting a loved one—like a child, an ailing person, pets, or
plants. A BETTER rating goes to
a Resource that’s a person the client has felt nurtured and supported
by—like an aunt, uncle, grandparent, teacher, neighbor, etc.; or an
inspiring person the client has personally observed caring for someone
else—like a sibling’s music teacher or a childhood friend’s mother.
A GOOD rating goes to a Resource
that’s a public figure, celebrity, or fictional character that the
client has felt especially inspired or supported by—like Oprah, MLK,
Mother Theresa, Mrs Doubtfire or June Cleaver. Some clients can mobilize
or a spiritual/mystical/archetype Resources—like Jesus or a guardian
angel. Clients are encouraged draw from any of these categories, to
mobilize the best Resource Team possible —at least two Resources, but
three or more is preferred. To vet each Resource, clients are invited to
ask themselves if it “would have been a good to be raised by someone”
like this Resource. A YES answer is required for all Resources included in the Team. Once
assembled, the Team is strengthened with alternating bilateral
Objective 2: Participants will
be able to describe how to guide clients to establish a Special Safe Place
where their wounded parts can rest and play.
proposed that clients envision themselves in a peaceful safe place that
can calm the body now—like a place in nature. Pendulating between a
trauma memory and this safe place, should help regulate painful emotions.
While this can work well for clients who are not very dysregulated and
dissociative, it may not be especially helpful for dissociated child
parts. This workshop will describe how to guide clients to establish a
SPECIAL SAFE PLACE, developed by Schmidt (2017), that’s very different.
It’s an imaginary place for all wounded parts to rest and play between
sessions. Its loving containment envisioned as a resort-like place with
lots of fun things to do, like swimming, boating, biking, horseback
riding, bowling, movie watching, etc. Clones of the Resource Team are
spread all around the resort, so they’re there always available for
whatever wounded parts need. This workshop will show how to help clients
establish this in 3 steps: first by picturing the place, then picturing it
with Resources everywhere, and then bringing in all their wounded parts.
The Special Safe Place is strengthened
with alternating bilateral stimulation.
Objective 3: Participants will
be able to describe how to directly dialogue with a wounded child part, to
attune, validate, and empathize.
This workshop will explain how to invite a wounded part forward, to approach
the Resource Team. It will detail how to welcome a wounded part, getting
her age, mood, and story, and how to listen with empathic attunement. It
will show how to direct wounded parts to look to the Resource Team for
emotional support. As the Resources provide an abundance of validation,
understanding, and loving support, upset child parts begin to feel an
embodied sense connection to them, which has a calming effect. (Schmidt,
Objective 4: Participants will
be able to describe how to orient a wounded child part to present time.
Many wounded child parts have the misperception that they’re in a
child’s body, living in their childhood home when they were small and
powerless. This workshop will describe a number of ways to help orient
wounded parts to present time—to help bring them out of their
dissociative trance—including how to help child parts discover the power
that comes with being in a grown-up body now. This helps wounded parts
feel much safer. (Schmidt, 2017)
Objective 5: Participants will
be able to describe how to reassure a wounded child part that her
perception of “reliving” an old trauma is just a harmless recording
This workshop will explain how the brain makes recordings of significant
wounding events while they’re happening—recordings that can play back
later. A triggering event in adulthood can press PLAY on an old recording.
That can evoke all the same painful emotions that were felt during an old
wounding event (that’s been triggered). The intensity of the triggered
emotions can create the illusion that the old experience is actually
happening right now. We’ll introduce an intervention for helping wounded
parts understand why it FEELS like the past is happening, so they can
begin to see they’re just reacting to a harmless old recording. When
wounded parts aer bonded with the Resources, oriented to present time, and
fully understand a recording is harmless, their dissociative trance is
broken. This leads to a profoundly stabilizing shift. (Schmidt, 2017)
Fisher, J. (2001) Modified
EMDR Resource Development & Installation Protocol.
Unpublished paper posted on her website
Keissling, R. (2009). Resource Strengthening. In M.Luber (Ed.),
EMDR Scripted Protocols: Basics and
special situations. (pp.85-86). New York: Springer Publishing
Korn, D.L., & Leeds, A.M. (2002). Preliminary evidence of
efficacy for EMDR resource development and installation in the
stabilization phase of treatment of complex posttraumatic stress disorder.
Journal of Clinical Psychology,
58, (12), 1465-1487.
Manfield, P. (2010) Dyadic
Resourcing: Creating a foundation for processing trauma.
Leeds, A. (1998). Lifting
the burden of shame: Using EMDR resource installation to resolve a
therapeutic impasse. In P.
Manfield (Ed.) Extending EMDR.
New York: Norton.
Schmidt, S.J. (2017). Ego
State Therapy Interventions to Prepare Your Most Wounded, Belligerent, and
Dissociative Clients for EMDR. http://www.emdr-prepwebinar.com An
EMDRIA-Approved, on-line, on-demand, webinar, for 10 EMDR Credits. DNMS
Yoeli, F. R., & Prattos, T. (2009). The EMDR-accelerated
information resourcing (EMDR-air) protocol. In M. Luber (Ed.),
EMDR Scripted Protocols: Basics and special situations (pp.31-45). New
York, NY: Springer.