Angela Andolfo Fillipini

Treating Complex Episodes Through Alternate Bilateral Stimulations. An Integration of the Theory of Complexes and EMDR in the Analytical Setting

“Today we can consider as certain the hypothesis that complexes are autonomous parts of the psyche. The etiology of their origin is often a so-called trauma, an emotional shock and similar events, due to which a part of the psyche is detached”. (Jung, Allgemeines zur Komplextheorie, 1934)

“The more one deepens the understanding of the psyche, the more one becomes convinced that the multiformity and multidimensionality of human nature require the greatest variety of methods and points of view to respond to the variety of psychic dispositions”. (Jung, The dynamics of the unconscious, 1935).

The Jungian theoretical model, in particular the Theory of Complexes, is extremely topical if viewed from the brain functioning standpoint and its integration capacity in an adaptive perspective. Jung theorized and demonstrated, through the Association Test, the complexity of the psyche and its tendency towards dissociability. Starting from Jung's formulations at the turn of 1934-35, I would like to propose an integration of the EMDR (Eyes Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) method into analytical practice to facilitate the processing and integration of the complex episodic memories. The neuroscientific investigation has confirmed that the brain has an innate system of information processing (Adaptive Information Processing - AIP), capable of storing experiences in existing memory networks. Over the years, research has demonstrated the effectiveness of Alternate Bilateral Stimulation (Eyes Movements or others) in allowing the processing of dysfunctional material blocked in the brain areas of emotional and bodily competence.

Clinical practice has shown the applicability of the EMDR approach to clinical syndromes that have trauma, as both a predisposing and a precipitating risk factor, due to stressful events or traumatic interpersonal relationships. Through the presentation of clinical material about treated cases, I wish to focus on the convergence of Jung's formulations on the dynamics of the complex and the AIP model.

The use of Alternate Bilateral Stimulations, deriving from EMDR approach, applied to the complex episodes allow in a short time, their complete integration and a total return of the energy contained in the complex, in favor of the Ego Complex.


Angela is a psychologist and psychotherapist, working in private practice since 1999. I had a previous psychotherapeutic training in Gestalt. Before studying Psychology, I also graduated as a Sport Teacher, working at school for several years. As my interests developed mostly on unconscious processes, I graduated at the Institute in 2010 and since then I contributed regularly to the program with several lectures becoming Training Analyst in 2017. I’m regularly involved in teaching activities with the Institute and now also for the FMH program in Italian. I also taught several times analytical subjects in the program for psychologist and psychotherapist for the Organizzazione Sociopsichatrica Cantonale, in Tessin.

Since 2010, I’ve been leading three different groups of intervision for analytical, psychodynamic and EMDR practice with colleagues, some of them from the CGJ Institute and from Jungian Italian Institute LI.S.TA. In the meantime, I also attended and completed the full program in EMDR, becoming Practitioner and Supervisor/Consultant according to the standards of EMDR Europe. I was a member of the Associazione Ticinese Psicologi Committee for eight years, the last three as President, since 2013. Since 2016 I’m a member of the Board of the Consiglio Psicosociale Cantonale, actively participating in the strategic decisions about the socio-psychiatric cantonal planning.


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