“I highly recommend this book!”
— Ruth A. Lanius, MD, PhD

Ego State Therapy Interventions to Prepare
Attachment-Wounded Adults for EMDR

by Shirley Jean Schmidt, MA, LPC

This book provides a roadmap for understanding and treating dysregulated, dissociative, attachment-wounded clients. While it’s written for EMDR therapists, it outlines helpful guidance for any therapist who works with adults wounded in childhood. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced therapists will find in it many innovative stabilization interventions not taught anywhere else. The book starts by differentiating attachment wounds from trauma wounds, offering clarity about this important distinction. It introduces ego state therapy in clear, simple language. It provides stepwise instructions for mobilizing vetted, internal Resources who can make a loving, healing connection with wounded child parts. It provides a wealth of information about how to stabilize child parts and bring them into the present moment. As more and more wounded parts get stabilized, the client does too. If a trauma treatment like EMDR is needed, this stabilization is excellent preparation. Readers will be able to access online, a trove of checklists, worksheets, and questionnaires to help guide clients through the stabilization process. Available in paperback or Amazon Kindle.

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Acclaim for the Book

“Schmidt presents an eloquent ego state approach to trauma treatment that is rooted in differential responses to trauma and attachment wounds. Through excellent case examples that illustrate barriers in trauma treatment arising frequently from attachment disruptions, Schmidt provides a stepwise approach to how early unmet developmental needs can be mended during adulthood and facilitate healing from trauma. I highly recommend this book!”

— Ruth A. Lanius, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harris-Woodman Chair, Western University of
Canada, and co-author of Healing the Traumatized Self: Consciousness, Neuroscience, Treatment
and The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic

“Shirley Jean Schmidt has developed an essential resource for every therapist who uses EMDR to help clients heal from trauma. With clarity and comprehensiveness, she explains the importance of recognizing in a client whether or not an attachment wound is present, and if so, why it is necessary to focus first on healing that wound prior to treating the trauma. Her work reflects sophisticated understanding of attachment, of trauma, and of their interplay, and this understanding is presented with unusual clarity. Upon that foundation, she provides for the clinician a remarkably detailed guide for learning her innovative integration of ego state therapy methods. There are very few books that are as therapist-friendly as this one – the accessibility of the writing and the graphics, the fine-grained step-by-step presentation of the therapy process with plenty of illustrative examples, the inclusion and suggested resolution of common challenges that therapists encounter during the treatment, and even guidance for helping therapists to be better attuned to their clients – all contribute to this book being tremendously valuable not only in the context of EMDR treatment but for any therapist who works with clients with attachment wounding.”

– David S. Elliott, PhD, co-author of Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair

“Shirley Jean Schmidt’s book Ego State Therapy Interventions to Prepare Attachment-Wounded Adults for EMDR is an excellent resource for therapists working with adults who’ve experienced attachment wounds. Through rich clinical examples of therapist-client dialogues, this book illustrates how therapists can validate client’s wounded parts, while helping them overcome long-standing resistance to change. Designed for therapists at every level, this book is full of creative and practical strategies grounded in ego state therapy for working compassionately with adults with trauma histories.”

— Marlene Steinberg, MD, author of The Stranger in the Mirror – Dissociation, The Hidden Epidemic,
and Diagnosing Dissociation in Therapy, Forensics, and Research: The SCID-D Interview (in press).

“In Ego-State Interventions to Prepare Attachment-Wounded Adults for EMDR, Shirley Jean Schmidt brings yet another offering of creative, dynamic, and deeply grounded ways to stabilize and offer healing to clients with developmental and attachment wounds. What I found so helpful in this book, above and beyond all the specific interventions, was the wealth of information describing elements of both development and attachment wounding and clear steps toward healing these wounds. This book is rich with information and creativity, a useful and welcomed resource for EMDR therapists.”

— Nancy J. Napier, MA, LMFT, author of Recreating Your Self, Getting
Through the Day
, and Sacred Practices for Conscious Living.

“As an EMDR trainer and consultant and I’m very excited about this book. It will be a game-changer for the practice of EMDR. Clients who grew up with unmet attachment needs—with or without trauma—can be very challenging to work with. They’re too dysregulated and dissociative for EMDR to work. Every EMDR therapist I know has been mystified about how to help these clients. This book shows us precisely how we can stabilize them well enough for trauma processing to be safe and effective. It’s a masterpiece brimming with case examples, client-therapist verbatims, sidebars, metaphors, and illustrations. It explains complex concepts in a way that’s easy to understand. Whether you’re a seasoned EMDR therapist or newly trained, this book will provide you solutions relevant for your most deeply wounded clients”

— Lynn James, MDiv, LCPC, EMDR Consultant and Trainer, DNMS Trainer

“As a trauma specialist and trainer of clinicians for nearly two decades, I’ve learned that many—if not most—clinicians lack a basic understanding of dissociation—both theory and appropriate clinical interventions to address it. Schmidt’s Ego State Therapy Interventions to Prepare Attachment-Wounded Adults for EMDR goes a long way to remedy this unfortunate reality. Within the many pages of therapist/client dialogue, Schmidt presents numerous therapeutic obstacles encountered with this population and, without demanding complete fidelity to any method, proffers various creative solutions to each. Which is why, contrary to its title, I believe it would be a useful resource for all therapists working to stabilize clients with complex trauma (which, by the way, I think is the majority of us).”

— Linda A. Curran, BCPC, LPC, CAADC, CCDP, author of Trauma Competency:
A Clinicians Guide
and 101 Trauma-Informed Interventions

“I LOVE THIS BOOK! It’s so well-written I couldn’t put it down. Finally, a book that provides a comprehensive road map on how to work with clients who have attachment wounds and ego states. This is a must-read for therapists who have completed the EMDR basic training and recognize that much more in-depth preparation is needed for complex trauma and dissociation. Shirley Jean Schmidt provides concise chapters, with a practical step by step description on how to prepare clients with healing resources to be able to partake in EMDR therapy. The reader will appreciate the case examples and scripts that will clearly guide them through the challenges of working with this population.”

— Annie J. Monaco, LCSW, RPT, EMDR Consultant and Trainer,
co-editor of EMDR with Children in the Play Therapy Room

“I have followed Shirley Jean Schmidt’s work for almost twenty years. Her ability to conceptualize and clarify the essential difference between trauma wounding and attachment wounding has had lasting impact on my practice of EMDR. For clinicians new to EMDR, treatment effects can be startling. But sometimes clients fail to respond, or take a turn for the worse, and we have to look beyond the resourcing strategies offered in the basic training. The author makes a clear and cogent case that unmet needs for attachment undermine and destabilize our clients, and that effective resourcing can make the difference between healing and debilitating the client. In a style that is unique to her, Shirley Jean Schmidt offers a framework, a language and a compassionate approach for resourcing our patients. In this text, SJS offers step-by-step interventions, addressing each stage in the process of resource development and implementation. The material is practical and comprehensive, addressing both the potential pitfalls and the adaptive resolutions, with illustrative transcript and detailed analysis. Those of you who commit the time to this volume will enjoy a profound transformation in your ability to work with your most challenging clients.”

— David Manfield, PhD, EMDRIA-Approved Consultant and EMDR Institute Facilitator.

“Shirley Jean demonstrates once again her gifts as a teacher, communicator, and author. She deftly distills many complex ideas and concepts into understandable parts and actionable processes. Her ability to impart the subtleties of ego state theory has been a tangible benefit in my practice and has enabled me to treat clients with a broad spectrum of approaches and methods. Of particular interest in this recent work is the distinction between foundational stability and instability. The map used to illustrate these subtleties provided distinct clarity, thus affording the reader to more effectively match the client’s condition(s) with the most appropriate interventions. Her attuned and loving voice permeates and accentuates the scripts she provides for examples. This technique allows the reader to effectively impart nurturing and corrective experience to their work with clients. If a practitioner’s goal is to increase their effectiveness in treating clients, then this book will be an extremely valuable reference and resource.”

— Megan A Wuest, MS, LPA, EMDR Therapist, Certified IFS Therapist.

The concepts and interventions Shirley Jean Schmidt teaches in this book have been life-changing for my clients. They’re experiencing deeper healing than they ever thought possible. I’m an exponentially better therapist for learning and applying these principles. EMDR therapists will greatly benefit from this book.

— Lynn Foerster PhD, DNMS Therapist in Private Practice.