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How to Use the CIPOS Method in EMDR Therapy

An effective EMDR resourcing strategy for treating dissociation in complex trauma clients

What is CIPOS?

CIPOS stands for Constant Installation and Present Orientation to Safety. It is an effective technique created by Jim Knipe and discussed in his book EMDR Toolbox: Theory & Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders

This technique is extremely helpful in clients who struggle with dissociation and a history of complex trauma. (Read my other post on dissociation for more information)

Review of Dissociation

In survivors of trauma, dissociation is a way to survive the present moment if the present moment, meaning a stressful time during a trauma, was so overwhelming, we can disconnect from reality (derealization) or disconnect from our body (depersonalization) as a way to survive.

How Does it Work?

The CIPOS method is effective in the treatment of dissociation because it helps teach and strengthen the ability to stay present for clients.

As with any approach, you first want to obtain permission from your client and give psycho-education before engaging in any technique. This is especially true for clients with structural dissociation, since we want to make sure that all of our clients "parts" are aware and on board with the intervention. This is how we, as therapists, honor all of the parts and acknowledge them. This is crucial because integration is all about co-consciousness of the parts.

Watch the above video for a demonstration on how to use this method to help promote stabilization and readiness for reprocessing with your clients.

If you have any questions or thoughts, don't hesitate to comment below!


About the Author

Dana Carretta-Stein is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and founder of Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling, PLLC, and Carretta Consulting in Scarsdale, NY.  She specializes in clinical psychotherapy to treat children, adolescents and adults with anxiety, behavior and trauma difficulties.

She is a certified EMDR therapist and EMDR Approved Consultant. Dana is also a business marketing coach for wellness practitioners who are looking to build and grow their private practice.

For more information, visit


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