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Unveiling the Layers: Complex Trauma and the Healing Power of EMDR for Attachment Wounds


In the intricate tapestry of trauma, complex trauma stands as a multifaceted experience that weaves its threads deeply into the fabric of an individual's life. This blog post explores the complexities of complex trauma and shines a light on how Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can serve as a potent tool in healing the profound attachment wounds that often accompany it.

Understanding Complex Trauma:

Complex trauma is a distinctive form of psychological distress that results from prolonged and repetitive exposure to traumatic events, typically occurring within relationships where safety and security should be assured. This can include experiences such as childhood abuse, neglect, or living in chronically unsafe environments. Unlike single-event traumas, complex trauma encompasses a range of adverse experiences that can significantly impact one's sense of self, relationships, and overall well-being.

The Impact on Attachment:

One of the hallmark features of complex trauma is its profound effect on attachment. Attachment wounds stemming from disrupted or insecure attachments during formative years can result in challenges with trust, intimacy, and a pervasive sense of emotional vulnerability. These wounds may manifest in patterns of difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships, fear of abandonment, or a distorted sense of self-worth.

How EMDR Unlocks Healing:

EMDR, a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, has emerged as a powerful and evidence-based modality for healing trauma, including complex trauma with attachment wounds. Here's how EMDR works to facilitate the healing process:

Accessing and Processing Traumatic Memories:

EMDR employs bilateral stimulation, often through guided eye movements, to facilitate the reprocessing of traumatic memories. This allows individuals to access and process stored emotions and sensations related to past traumas, providing an opportunity for adaptive resolution.

Targeting Core Beliefs and Negative Cognitions:

EMDR addresses the negative beliefs and distorted cognitions that often arise from attachment wounds. By identifying and reprocessing these core beliefs, individuals can experience a shift in how they perceive themselves, others, and their place in relationships.

Building a Secure Internal Attachment:

Through EMDR's comprehensive eight-phase approach, therapists guide clients in building a secure internal attachment to their own emotions and experiences. This process fosters a sense of self-compassion and resilience, laying the groundwork for healthier interpersonal connections.

Integration of Mind, Body, and Emotions:

EMDR's holistic approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of mind, body, and emotions. This integration is particularly beneficial for individuals with complex trauma, as it addresses the somatic and emotional aspects of their experience.


Complex trauma, with its intricate interplay of attachment wounds, requires a nuanced and comprehensive therapeutic approach. EMDR, with its ability to access and reprocess traumatic memories, target negative cognitions, and foster internal attachment, offers a pathway to healing that goes beyond symptom management. By unlocking the potential for transformative change, EMDR stands as a beacon of hope for those seeking to mend the deep-seated wounds of complex trauma and rediscover the foundations of secure attachment and well-being.

With love,

Stacy Ruse, LPC

Stacy Ruse, LPC, is an esteemed Evergreen EMDR consultant, IFS-Institute consultant, and founder of Aglow Counseling. Stacy teaches a therapeutic style that is characterized by the art of EMDR & IFS therapies with a transpersonal twist, transcending the conventional boundaries of traditional therapy. Her holistic approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit allowing individuals to tap into their innate resilience and ignite their personal transformation journey. As a trauma expert, national and international trainer, and clinical consultant, Stacy's approach is deeply rooted in trauma-informed methodologies.

IFS-Informed EMDR Consult Group:

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