Many studies have shown that the relationship between child and caregivers is critical for healthy development of the child’s brain function, and for intergenerational transmission of attachment. Here, we propose a useful eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) target for treatment of maternal emotional dysregulation that can cause maltreatment of the child, with the goal of interrupting intergenerational transmission of attachment trauma. First, we use schematics to demonstrate a hypothetical model of the interaction between a child’s attachment behavior and a mother’s bonding behavior. This schematic shows that the child’s physiologic reaction activates or triggers the mother’s negative affect and somatic sensations in her limbic system and brain stem and that, in turn, evokes the mother’s maltreatment behavior. The negative affect and somatic sensation (maternal emotional dysregulation) are Dysfunctionally Stored Information (DSI) that was produced in the mother’s past experience. We propose that the mother’s negative affect and somatic sensations activated by the child’s behaviors can be useful targets for EMDR therapy based on this hypothetical model. Two Japanese case reports (mothers with 4-year-old daughters) are described to illustrate this application. Further discussion highlights the feature of Japanese cultural relationship and the dissociation, and the meaning and scope of targeting maternal emotional dysregulation with EMDR therapy.
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Copyright © 2018 EMDR International Association
Okawara, M., & Paulsen, S. L. (2018). Intervening in the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma by Targeting Maternal Emotional Dysregulation With EMDR Therapy. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 12(3), 142–157. https://doi.org/10.1891/1933-3188.8.131.52
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research