This case study demonstrates the effective use of EMDR in helping a child manage fears triggered by a life-threatening chronic medical condition—congenital heart failure. It is well documented that childhood chronic illness creates ongoing stress and psychological problems for children and their families. Evidence suggests that interventions to enhance coping skills improve psychological functioning. EMDR has the potential to contribute to this end. Deconstructive analysis of a single EMDR session illustrates the working of Shapiro’s adaptive information processing (AIP) model. It demonstrates that the child can spontaneously open up channels of association to uncover, process, and resolve fears relating to the medical condition, as well as other concerns. A case is made for targeting whatever current, overt problem or symptom the child presents, because this inevitably serves as a portal to more covert, even unconscious core issues. Past, current, and future fears and traumatic experiences emerge and are processed to resolution. Also highlighted is the importance of integrating the individual EMDR treatment component into a family systems treatment approach for optimum outcome, because the illness impacts the whole family, ergo, the child. Recommendations for EMDR treatment planning and implementation with chronic illness are offered.
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Copyright © 2016 EMDR International Association
Klaff, F. (2016). EMDR Therapy as Portal to a Child’s Processing of a Medical Condition: A Case Study and Session Deconstruction. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 10(3), 189–198. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3126.96.36.199
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research