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EMDR and Health Related Issues

Carol ForgashHello Everyone

This column will focus on the treatment of health problems with EMDR Therapy...featuring books and articles showing how EMDR can ameliorate some health issues, improve outlook on recovery, or help clients make the best of life when physical problems cause disability.

Read this excellent article in the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research by Arabia, Manca and Solomon on "EMDR for Survivors of life threatening Cardiac events: results of a pilot study". It describes the effectiveness of EMDR with the problems of this population.(2011) 5(1). JEMDRA. (2-13).

You can read several articles on the treatment of health problems such as phantom limb pain, medically unexplained symptons, etc. in these JEMDDRA articles:

Here are some additional JEMDRA articles:

EMDR in the Treatment of Chronic Pain
Mazzola, A., Calcagno, M., Goicochea, M. et al. (2009) 3(2). JEMDRA. 66-79

EMDR and Phantom Limb Pain: Theoretical Implications
Case Study and Treatment Guidelines
Schneider, J., Hoffmann, A., Rost. C., Shapiro, F., (2007) JEMDRA. 1(1). 24-30.

EMDR in the Treatment of Medically Unexplained Symptoms
van Rood, YR., de Roos, C., (2009) JEMDRA. 3(4) 248-263.

EMDR as a Therapeutic Treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: A Case Report
Hughes, M., (2014) JEMDRA. 8(2) 66-73.

EMDR and CBT for Cancer Patients: Comparative Study of Effects on PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression
Capezzani, L. Ostacoli, L.; Cavallo, M.; Carletto, S; Fernandez, I; Solomon, R.; Pagani, M.; Cantelmi, T. (2013) JEMDRA. 7 (3) 134-143.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Sudeck's Dystrophy: EMDR Reprocessing Therapy Applied to the Psychotherapeutic Strategy
Gauvry, S.B.; Lesta, P.; Alonso, Ana L.; Pallia, R. (2013). JEMDRA. 7(3) 167-172.

Case Consultation: Traumatized Pregnant Woman
Forgash, C.; Leeds, A.; Stramrood, C.; Robbins, A. (2013). JEMDRA. 7(1) 45-49.

EMDR Treatment of Migraine. Konuk, ES.; Epözdemir, H.; Hac?ömero?lu Atçeken, ?.; Ayd?n, Yunus E.; Yurtsever, A. (2011) 5(4). JEMDRA. 166-176.

When a PTSD Survivor Becomes Pregnant: Implications For EMDR Treatment
Forgash, C. — Click Here to read the article.

Enhancing the Health Care Experiences of Adult Female Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Monahan, K., & Forgash, C. — Click Here to read the article.

Here is an outstanding article from the New Yorker Magazine. It graphically explains PTSD's negative effects on health. The Poverty Clinic by Paul Tough (2011).

Monisha Sullivan first visited the Bayview Child Health Center a few days before Christmas, in 2008. Sixteen years old, she was an AfricanAmerican teen-age mother who had grown up in the poorest and most violent neighborhood in San Francisco, Bayview-Hunters Point, a bleak collage of warehouses and one-story publichousing projects in the city’s southeastern corner. Sullivan arrived at the clinic with ailments that the staff routinely observed in patients: strep throat, asthma, scabies, and a weight problem. The clinic’s medical director, Nadine Burke, examined Sullivan and prescribed the usual remedies—penicillin for her strep throat, ProAir for her asthma, and permethrin for her scabies—and at most clinics that would have been the end of the visit. But Burke, who founded the center in 2007, was having a crisis of confidence regarding her practice, and Sullivan was the kind of patient who made her feel particularly uneasy. Burke was diligently ticking off each box on the inner-city pediatrician’s checklist, but Sullivan’s problems appeared to transcend mere physical symptoms. She was depressed and listless, staring at the floor of the examination room and responding to Burke’s questions in sullen monosyllables. She hated school, didn’t like her foster mother, and seemed not to care one way or the other about her twomonth-old daughter, Sarai.

Burke is charismatic and friendly, and her palpable concern for her patients disarms even the toughest cases. It helps that she is dark-skinned, like most of her patients, and young—just thirty-five. But her childhood was very different from theirs. The daughter of Jamaican professionals who moved from Kingston to Silicon Valley when Burke was four, she attended public school in Palo Alto, where the kids were mostly white and well-off, and where girls cried in the cafeteria if they didn’t get the right car for their sixteenth birthday. Like many children of immigrants, Burke has learned to move fluidly between cultures. She now lives in a house in an upscale part of Potrero Hill, a San Francisco neighborhood, with a closet full of designer clothes, and she has a fiancé who is a wealthy solar-energy entrepreneur. But she seems just as comfortable among the mostly poor families she sees in her examination room: laughing, gossiping, hugging, and scolding, in Spanish as well as in English, in a full-throated alto that echoes down the hall. ... Click Here to Read More:

New Books on Health/ EMDR

Carvalho, E. (2015). Heal Your Brain: Heal Your Body: How EMDR Therapy Can Heal Your Body by Healing Your Brain (Clinical Strategies in Pyschotherapy). Vol.2. Trauma Clinic Editions

Grant, M. (2009). Pain Control with EMDR: treatment manual

Monahan, K., & Forgash,C. (2012). Childhood Sexual Abuse and Adult Physical and Dental Health Outcomes. In E.A.Kalfoğlu & R.Faikoglu (Eds.), Sexual Abuse – Breaking the Silence (pp.137-152).Croatia: InTechOpen. Link to online access: (Free download)

Bergmann, U.(2012). Neurobiological Foundations for EMDR Practice. New York. Springer.

On another aspect of EMDR, Colin Ross has written an article entitled: EMDR IS BASED ON A TRAUMA-DISSOCIATION MODEL OF MENTAL DISORDERS. He has done an excellent job of showing how EMDR fits very neatly into the 3 phased trauma model.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) was developed by Francine Shapiro (2001). EMDR is widely used and is approved as an evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; see American Psychiatric Association, 2004; Bisson & Andrew, 2007)).

The professional association for EMDR in North America is the EMDR International Association ( and the primary training institute is the EMDR Institute ( Other EMDR organizations include EMDR Europe ( and EMDR Iberoamerica ( The purpose of the present paper is to argue that EMDR is based on a trauma-dissociation model of mental disorders. EMDR is useful for a broad range of mental disorders (Solomon & Shapiro, 2008) because, from the perspective of its model, many different behaviors and symptoms are suitable targets for treatment. Shapiro (2001, page 11-13) says that, “positive therapeutic results with EMDR have been reported with a wide range of populations, as documented in the following case and controlled studies.” She then references studies on PTSD, phobias, panic disorder, grief, chemical dependency and gambling addictions, performance anxiety, somatoform disorders and personality disorders. ... To read more, click on


Here is information about my workshops and distance learning courses that may interest you.


Healing the Heart of Trauma and Dissociation with EMDR and Ego State Therapy. Edited by Carol Forgash and Margaret Copeley

Approved for 8 EMDRIA Credits
The book is available at on their store or at

Book Description: The powerful benefits of EMDR in treating PTSD have been solidly validated. In this groundbreaking new work nine master clinicians show how complex PTSD involving dissociation and other challenging diagnoses can be treated safely and effectively. They stress the careful preparation of clients for EMDR and the inclusion of ego state therapy to target the dissociated ego states that arise in response to severe and prolonged trauma.

This book course is has been developed for EMDR practitioners to help them provide successful EMDR treatment to clients diagnosed with complex trauma. Complex trauma victims have problems dealing with triggers, dissociation, affect disregulation, and stress.

They require a tri-phasic trauma treatment approach integrated into the EMDR protocol including:
1: stabilization, 2: EMDR trauma processing and 3: resolution.

FEES:  $80 includes test and CE certificate of completion.

Go to for more information.

Distance Learning Courses

Healing the Heart of Trauma & Dissociation with EMDR and Ego State Therapy

10 EMDRIA Credits and CEUs
Carol Forgash, LCSW, BCD, Course Instructor

Order DVD or Online Version - Click Here is the provider for CEUs units and EMDRIA Distance Learning credits. will issue the certficate upon completion of the exam.

Click Here for full details.

$199 +$15 (S&H) Total: $214.00 (DVD Format)

This DVD seminar teaches the "basics" of Ego State Work and dissociative management strategies. This practical seminar helps the therapist integrate Ego State approaches and stabilizing interventions into their EMDR practice with dissociative and complex clients.

I'm currently presenting 2 live workshops approved for EMDRIA Credits.

Healing the Heart of Trauma with EMDR and Ego State Therapy in the Treatment of Complex Trauma Clients

This Workshop is approved by EMDRIA for: 13.5 CE's.

Healing the Heart of Trauma with EMDR and Ego State Therapy is an Advanced 2-day Workshop For Trained EMDR Clinicians.

Participants will learn through lecture, demonstration and practice sessions:

  • The relationship of Ego State Theory to the
    Adaptive Information Processing Model.

  • Fundamentals of Ego State Theory and Practice.
    The rationale for the EMDR/Ego State Integrated Model.

  • The phased preparation work that precedes application of the EMDR trauma processing phase
    of the protocol with challenging clients.

  • Specific stabilization strategies to help clients
    deal with dissociative and affect management symptoms.

  • Advanced techniques and interweaves that
    promote resolution within the 8 phase EMDR protocol.

EMDR Treatment of
Health-Related Problems

This workshop is is an Advanced 2-day Workshop For Trained EMDR Clinicians.

Approved for 13 EMDRIA Credits

EMDR can be integrated into the comprehensive treatment of health related problems by processing obstacles that may be complicating healing, such as traumas related to early abuse, past and current difficult medical treatment, chronic illness, pain and other somatic issues. The intertwined effects of these problems on mental health will be explored. This work also appears to strengthen the client’s effectiveness as a pro-active health consumer. The utilization of EMDR for adaptive resolution of health issues will be provided through lecture, demonstration, case examples, and practice sessions.

Consultation Services

As an EMDRIA Approved Consultant I provide individual and group consultation to EMDR trained clinicians in the US and in other countries in the following practice issues Working with Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders Health issues

I also provide consultation to those seeking to become EMDRIA approved consultants I will provide one time,  occasional or series of consultation sessions on the phone or in person. Call 631 265 3194/ or email me at

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