Integrating Relational Psychoanalysis and EMDR: Embodied Experience and Clinical Practice, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Integrating Relational Psychoanalysis and EMDR

Embodied Experience and Clinical Practice, 1st Edition

By Hemda Arad


206 pages

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Integrating Relational Psychoanalysis and EMDR: Embodied Experience and Clinical Practice provides contemporary theoretical and clinical links between Relational Psychoanalysis, attachment theory, neuroscience, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, all of which bring both the patient’s and analyst’s embodied experience into the forefront of clinical thinking and practice. The author grounds an in-depth view on the ways psychoanalysis and EMDR can be effectively integrated to complement each other through a presentation of fundamental concepts and an abundance of insightful and moving clinical vignettes.

Hemda Arad outlines the theoretical and clinical concepts that allow the integration of Relational Psychoanalysis with EMDR’s unique contributions, specifically appreciating the neurological and embodied experience in an individual’s development in relation to the classic talking cure’s approach to dealing with "big T" trauma and with "small t" everyday attachment-related trauma. Arad describes a view of a modified EMDR approach capable of reaching many patients, beyond the trauma work for which it originally became known, in order to lend its more embodied approach to the advancement of the relational endeavor. Vivid clinical illustrations, chosen to elucidate theoretical concepts, make the complex theoretical ideas more accessible. The clinical portions illustrate a range of ways that EMDR and relational work, which may at first seem incompatible, may be integrated to help therapists navigate the two methods.

Integrating Relational Psychoanalysis and EMDR: Embodied Experience and Clinical Practice will appeal to psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists and psychodynamic therapists who wish to learn about the relational tradition in theory and practice or are seeking a way to integrate their work with other versatile approaches such as EMDR, as well as advanced students studying across these areas and EMDR clinicians who would like to broaden the scope of their skills.


"Hemda Arad weaves together a rich tapestry of relational psychoanalytic thought, brain research, trauma theory, and attachment theory to illuminate how integrating Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) into a relational-psychoanalytically informed clinical practice can be invaluable in working with patients to help release the affective and embodied experience that lie beyond the reach of words. In clear and often movingly poetic language, she synthesizes research and scholarship with vivid clinical examples that bring to life the ways in which the human mind operates to shield itself from painful experience. She offers clinically relevant and experience-near illustrations of how EMDR can serve as a valuable addition to psychoanalytic treatment and, conversely, of how processing material arising from EMDR sessions psychoanalytically can enhance its clinical effectiveness. This book will be invaluable to clinicians seeking a better understanding of how to help patients for whom the "talking cure" is not enough."-Karen E. Starr, PsyD, editor, Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy Integration (2015); author, A Psychotherapy for the People (2013) and Repair of the Soul (2008).

"This is a ground-breaking book which brings together two apparently disparate approaches to treatment – relational psychoanalysis and EMDR. Arad makes a distinction between analytic goals and therapeutic goals, arguing that at certain moments of emotional impasse, when words are not available to facilitate the process, EMDR can offer a different, bodily, avenue of approach. She observes that "The actual travel into thought, feeling, or pain during EMDR sets is dynamic in nature, and resembles a deep primary process in analysis." She finds this dual approach seems particularly useful for patients with dissociated self-states, in that, "EMDR helps ground [the patient] in a feeling state that otherwise is prohibited from entering her consciousness." Couples therapy might benefit especially from this integration, because Arad discovers that self-states can frequently shift between partners at times of conflict, creating an opening for EMDR strategies. In these ways Arad imaginatively challenges her readers to expand their therapeutic repertoires by bridging two approaches that at first glance might seem antithetical. This is a courageous and much needed text."-Robert Winer, MD, an editor of the book Who’s Behind the Couch?: The Heart and Mind of the Psychoanalyst and the author of the book Close Encounters: A Relational View of the Therapeutic Process. Co-founder and co-chair of the program, New Directions: Writing with a Psychoanalytic Edge at the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis, member of the editorial advisory board of Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes.

"Hemda Arad’s book translates solid EMDR function to poetic analytic introspection in an extensive, comprehensive manner, including research, deep exploration of both techniques, and case histories that interweave them."-Robin Shapiro, LICSW, editor of EMDR Solutions, Pathways to Healing; EMDR Solutions II: Trauma Treatment Handbook; and author of Easy Ego State Interventions (Norton, 2016).

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; PART I: Literature and theory 1 EMDR—History, method, protocol, and modifications

for integration with relational psychoanalysis 2 The influence of big T and small t trauma on the brain 3 The relational perspective within the psychoanalytic tradition 4 Attachment: Companionship in action PART II: Case studies using both relational psychoanalysis and EMDR 5 In the trenches: Digging for lost passions—The use of EMDR

in psychoanalytic work 6 Working in tandem 7 I-dentity: Is trusted love ever an option? 8 EMDR in absentia—The power of "No" 9 Conclusions: Reintegrating the music with the lyrics

About the Author

Hemda Arad, PhD, is a psychoanalyst, consultant, and Washington State Approved Supervisor. She is also an EMDRIA Certified Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapist. She has served on the faculties of the Northwest Center for Psychoanalysis and the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis program: New Directions: Writing with a Psychoanalytic Edge. She works in private practice in Seattle with individuals, couples, and groups.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis