A diagnosis of cancer can be a major challenge for a couple. Some will navigate without major upheaval, but others will face difficulties that shake the foundations of the relationship. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can be beneficial to both individuals in helping them resolve the present issues as well as past traumas that are hindering their ability to cope with the illness in the most effective way. This article describes how a couple therapy treatment developed by Johnson and Moore (2012, 2014) can be used for couples facing medical challenges. The treatment integrates individual EMDR therapy for each partner with conjoint couple therapy using Nonviolent Communication (Rosenberg, 2003) and Relationship Enhancement therapy (Guerney, 1987). The goals are to create a calming atmosphere between the couple, resolve the presenting problems, improve communication between the partners, and deepen the relationship. A descriptive case example describes the application of this treatment model to a couple who were struggling with the impact of the husband’s serious medical problems on the marriage. The article also provides direction for addressing various challenges in couple work.
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Copyright © 2016 EMDR International Association
Moore, M. V. (2016). Couple Therapy When One Spouse Has Cancer: Integration of EMDR and Relationship Enhancement Therapies. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(3), 208–214. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3126.96.36.199
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research