The purpose of this paper is to describe the Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment of an adult female patient detained within a high secure hospital with complex mental health difficulties, including complex trauma, factitious disorder, self-injury and a history of offending. The EMDR treatment addressed the patient’s urges to engage in severe and sometimes life-threatening self-injury, a primary motive of which was to access physical healthcare interventions within a general hospital. The paper describes the wide-ranging benefits of the treatment and incorporates feedback from the patient and clinicians within her multi-disciplinary team (MDT).
Four triggers for self-injury were processed during the therapy using the DeTUR Protocol (Popky, 2005, 2009) and the Constant Installation of Present Orientation and Safety (CIPOS, Knipe, 2009a) method. In total, 18 one hour therapy sessions were delivered plus three follow-up sessions to continue to offer support and complete the post-treatment evaluation.
The level of urge for each trigger was reduced to 0 which the patient defined as “no urge to self-injure”. Benefits went well beyond self-injury with reported positive impacts on mood, thinking, sleep, concentration, memory and experience of flashbacks.
This case report demonstrates that the EMDR DeTUR Protocol together with the CIPOS method can be extremely valuable in the treatment of patients who self-injure.
The case report offers an important contribution to an area that requires much further research.
The authors would like to express their deep gratitude to Emily for her active involvement with the evaluation and for giving her consent for the case report to be written up for publication. They would also like to thank their colleagues for their generous contributions to the case report.
Annesley, P., Alabi, A. and Longdon, L. (2019), "The EMDR DeTUR protocol for the treatment of self-injury in a patient with severe personality disorder: a case report", Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 27-38. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-11-2018-0034
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