Preconference Workshop 2 - Breaking the Cycle: EMDR therapy solutions for problematic anger, acting out and addictive behaviors

Mark Nickerson

Friday 17 june 2016

9:30 - 17:00h at Yangtze 1, Yangtze 2

Categories: Anger, Agression, Violence, Techniques

Breaking the Cycle: EMDR Therapy Solutions for Problematic Anger

Topic-informed EMDR offers a unique potential to more effectively treat clients presenting with problematic anger, hostility and a range of related behaviors across a spectrum of severity. Relevant client issues include temper outbursts; an array of chronic or occasional hostile interactions with others such as verbal aggression, intimate partner abuse, angry parenting, and bullying; anger avoidance; revenge obsessions, ideologically based hostility and prejudice; and the common struggles with anger for combat veterans and first responders.

This presentation will teach practical strategies and special considerations for a successfully tailored use of the 8-Phase EMDR treatment approach.   Key points will be illuminated with case examples including clips from video-taped clinical sessions. Useful knowledge from the field of anger management and violence prevention will be integrated to create a customized EMDR treatment approach which surpasses the capacity of mainstream non-EMDR interventions.

This presentation will identify EMDR interventions that are also applicable to other problematic behaviors. Protocols, tools and strategies taught will include a depiction of the Cycle Model cycle model for assessment, trigger identification and target selection; a metaphor-based guide to case formulation; ways to enhance client engagement and motivation; topic-related stabilization and preparation techniques; ways to transform abusive power and controlling behaviors; compassionate confrontation; emotional funneling and affect regulation; symptom-focused targeting strategies including inverted protocols; the use of restricted processing for current triggers; solution scripting, strategic skill building, and a protocol for addressing prejudice and hostile attitudes.

Violent behavior is typically a trauma reenactment and reprocessing strategies can aid clients in undoing the maladaptive template driving many to “make others feel the way I felt,” as one client said. When a client is “doing unto others what was done to them,” trauma-informed intervention offers realistic hope for true transformation and behavioral change. 


Objectives- Participants will be able to:

Identify dynamics associated with problematic anger, hostility and violent behavior.

  1. Identify specific client presentations in which trauma-informed EMDR intervention can effectively treat problematic state-based anger, trait hostility, and other related behaviors.
  2. Describe the value of the Cycle-Model and other topic-related strategies for effective Phase I history taking and case formulation
  3. Identify topic-related techniques for stabilization, strategic skill building, and preparation
  4. Implement topic-related protocols and interweaves for effective reprocessing