Autoimmune Disorders


EMDR Canada Conference 2023

Resetting the Immune System

The Brain, the Body, and Trauma: Integration with EMDR Therapy
EMDR Canada 2023

The immune system and the nervous system work in similar ways and they can share information with each other. Both the nervous system and the immune system have memory networks.

I’ve seen amazing results with my protocol developed into a combination of these concepts:

  • AIP (Francine Shapiro)
  • The 7 Primary Emotional Systems Theory, (Jaak Panksepp)
  • Katie O’Shea and Sandra Paulson Where There Are No Words
  • The Textbook of Immunopsychiatry by Khandaker, G., Harrison N., Bullmore, E. and Dantzer.

Resetting the Immune System

People who suffer from autoimmune disorders often report their symptoms surfaced after a traumatic episode in their lives.

The Immune System is made up of a natural and adaptive branch. The adaptive branch of the immune system is a memory network that seeks out threats and responds.
The adaptive immune system may learn something is dangerous even when it is not.  We can target these systems with EMDR because, like the brain, the adaptive immune system can learn and unlearn information.

Stress, The Immune System, and The Brain

The definition of stress has evolved over time from predation and natural disasters to economic insecurity to interpersonal conflicts.

In the past, stressors were only acute (fight, flight, freeze) and now less “life-threatening”,  more persistent, and chronic, and those previously labeled as “trivial” are acknowledged as stressors as well.

Stress and the immune system and its response to stress can influence the production, activation, and mobilization of immune cells-Chronic stress.
More evidence suggests that chronic stress induces a vulnerability to psychiatric disorders by altering neural circuitry.

Stress-induced changes in brain structure impact cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus morphology.

The Immune System Impacts Mental Health

There is an overlap between physical sickness and depression symptoms including somatic responses such as fatigue, foggy brain, and sleep disturbance.
Immune activation can quickly bring about these depression-like symptoms and rapidly accelerate a network of brain areas that are very similar to those associated with stress and depression.
Understanding what determines the risk of depression following immune activation could be important for further developing targeted strategies for treatment and prevention of inflammation-related depression.  

Common Autoimmune Disorders

  • Chronic pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Addison’s disease
  • Grave’s disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis