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Pain Control with EMDR: An Information Processing Approach, 2nd ed.
Mark Grant

Paperback, 2001
119 Pages


Pain Control with EMDR is an 'information-processing' based approach to the psychological management of pain, using Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR). The title of this manual 'Pain Control with EMDR' is meant to suggest that pain can be overcome. But the approach described herein differs significantly from mainstream approaches to pain management. I want to suggest that pain is most effectively controlled when the patient is supported in having their experience, and then learning to master it.

Information processing approaches are based on a model of learning that incorporates emotion, cognition, and neurological processes. Some psychotherapies seek to help the patient cope with their pain, but information processing approaches (e.g., EMDR, EEG biofeedback) seek to change the way the patient experiences their pain, by changing the way it is stored in the nervous system. Information processing approaches to seek to do this by appealing as directly as possible to the nervous system.

This manual is divided into two parts, between theory and practice. Part one is a review of historical ideas and treatments for pain, in order to gain an appreciation of how history still shapes how we approach this problem. In part two the practicalities of treating chronic pain using EMDR are described.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction 1

  • PART ONE. Understanding Pain
    • Psychological Theories and Treatments of Pain 5
    • Trauma, Stress and Pain 11
    • A Biopsychosocial Model of Pain 19
    • Principles of Treatment 23
  • PART TWO. Pain Control with EMDR
    • EMDR Treatment of Pain 31
    • History/Assessment 39
    • Planning and Preparation 45
    • EMDR Chronic Pain Protocol 50
    • Maintenance and Reintegration 61
    • Working with Dissociation and Repression 65
    • Case Examples of EMDR Treatment of Pain 72
    • Affect Management Skills for Chronic Pain 81
  • Appendices 84
  • References 106


Finished reading Mark Grant’s revision of the EMDR Pain Control manual. He has done an excellent job of briefly reviewing the various theoretical models underlying the presence of chronic pain, not only from a neurophysiological perspective, but also the important psychological issues as well. The actual pain protocol is an excellent step-by-step “road map” of assisting the clinician in dealing with a chronic pain population. However, he also provides case illustrations and examples of more difficult and complex pain cases that were effectively assisted with EMDR. Most importantly, given the latest research on the role of memory in the production and maintenance of chronic pain, he provides excellent guidelines and instructions on dealing with premorbid traumas that are memory-linked to the presenting chronic pain patient. Anyone working with chronic pain patients and EMDR should be guided by Mark Grant’s work.

About the Author

After receiving his MA in Psychology from the University of Sydney in 1989 Mark worked for the NSW Department of Corrective Services for several years, followed by a generalist role in a community health centre. About 5 years ago, he went into private practice where he specializes in treating anxiety, trauma and chronic pain. He works with a synthesis of learnings based on EMDR, Erickson hypnosis, narrative therapy, client-centered therapy and body-centered therapy.

Mark has been working with chronic pain sufferers for approximately 10 years. He has presented at conferences, workshops and trainings in Australia and the Americas. He is the author of two self-help tapes that incorperates bilateral stimulation with guided hypnotic suggestions, "Calm and Confident, based on EMDR" and "Pain Control, based on EMDR". Mark has been actively involved in the development of EMDR in Australia, currently he is the chairman of the EMDR Association of Australia. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

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