EMDR can be useful for treating dissociative disorders.
Dissociation is a healthy adaptive defence used almost universally by people in response to overwhelming stress or life threatening danger.
However most people experience mild dissociative symptoms at times when their lives are not in immediate danger.
Dissociation can be viewed as running along a continuum; such as losing track of time when you’re immersed in a good novel to avoiding distress completely by not letting anyone or anything affect you or cause you to feel your feelings.
A questionnaire is usually given at the start of therapy to screen for dissociative disorders.
People with dissociative disorders don’t feel integrated but instead feel somewhat fragmented because they have memories, feelings, thoughts and behaviours that are experienced as uncharacteristic and foreign.
These divided senses of self and response patterns are called dissociative parts of the personality.
People who have suffered trauma, especially when it occurs in childhood, are more likely to experience high levels of dissociation.
EMDR can be used to effectively integrate the parts of the self however when processing traumatic memories in a dissociative person, a good deal of preparation needs to take place in order to manage the dissociation and stabilise the person beforehand.
Ego state therapy using EMDR can be useful to improve a sense of inner connectedness so that ego states are working together instead of against each other in conflict.