EMDR Introject Decathexis Protocol: An Integrative Approach to Unbind Perpetrator Parts

It is well-established in both the EMDR therapy and complex trauma-dissociative disorders literatures that self-state/parts-focused work with clients is frequently not only helpful but also necessary to achieve stabilization/containment, trauma resolution, and integration of treatment gains into how a person functions in day-to-day life. With limited exceptions, interventions both within and outside the EMDR therapy tradition focus on certain tasks in working with perpetrator-imitating parts, often referred to in the psychodynamically-influenced literature as abuser/persecutorial ‘introjects’.

With limited exceptions, interventions both within and outside the EMDR therapy tradition focus on particular tasks in working with negative introjects: 1) orienting them to the realities of the present, the body, and the whole self; 2) persuading them to ‘stand down’ or reconsider what ‘protection’ could look like; 3) and, helping other parts feel less afraid of the introject. The exceptions noted include interventions involving either hypnotically induced abreactions; reducing the charge of negative beliefs; or, containing dissociative, emotional intrusions from the introject. However, there are both conceptual and practical issues that limit these approaches’ effectiveness in facilitating lasting, adaptive resolution of the at-times profound harm inflicted upon the self by negative introjects.

We will look the phenomena that help explain the development of perpetrator-identifying parts; discuss the functions they can serve within, and the impact they can have upon, the self-system; review the existing approaches to working with these parts both within and outside EMDR therapy practice, including their observed limitations; and, examine a novel, yet highly-effective and safe, approach to permanently ‘de-fanging’ perpetrator-identifying parts developed by the presenter, integrating Ego State Therapy, clinical hypnosis, and EMDR therapy. The treatment frames informing the approach will be established; necessary preparatory tasks and precautions for its safe use will be laid out; and, the protocol itself will be described through case examples.

This session was originally presented as a live conference session in May 2020.


Target Audience


Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Define the phenomenon of introjective identification
  • Name three existing approaches to working with perpetrator-imitating self-states
  • Describe two reasons for mapping a client’s self-system early in treatment Identify at least two precautions for employing the Introject Decathexis protocol
  • Name the specific components of the Introject Decathexis protocol
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 3.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter:  D Michael Coy, MA, LICSW
Presenter Bio: D. Michael Coy, MA, LICSW, is a Seattle-based therapist whose focus in the integrative treatment of persons who have struggled with the effects of pre-verbal and attachment trauma, addictions/compulsions, and complex trauma and dissociative disorders. Michael is an EMDRIA Approved Consultant, has intermediate training in clinical hypnosis through ASCH, and is Level I trained in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. He served on the Standards & Training committee of the EMDR International Association from 2014 to 2017. In 2020, he was appointed to the EMDR Council of Scholars Future of EMDR Therapy Project, Clinical Practice Working Group.

Since 2016, Michael has collaborated with Jennifer Madere and Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation developer Paul F. Dell, PhD, to make the MID more accessible to clinicians, and is co-author of the Interpretive Manual for the Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation Analysis, 3rd Edition. Additionally, he manages the MID Analysis, which is the calculation program that generates MID results and is currently in version 5.0, and the MID website.

Michael currently serves as Treasurer, and in 2019 was named a Fellow, of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). Michael co-chaired the EMDR Therapy Training Task Group, which created this training.

Available Credit

  • 3.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


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