Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Nursing (Nursing)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Rosemary Hall

Second Committee Member

JoAnn Trybulski -

Third Committee Member

Gail C. McCain

Fourth Committee Member

Gail H. Ironson


Grounded theory method was used to explore the experiences of patients suffering the effects of psychological trauma who had received eye movement desensitization and reprocessing approach (EMDR) as treatment. Saturation of the categories was achieved with the analysis of 15 interviews. The basic social psychological process that emerged is transforming suffering and the core category is changes in perception. The three subcategories, relinquishing, presencing and emerging, form the conceptual framework for the stages of transforming suffering. The stages of relinquishing, presencing and emerging contain concepts and their properties to guide practice. The two dimensions of processing subsumed within each stage are temporal perspectives (past, present and future) and processing fields (physical field, cognitive field and transformative field). These concepts help explain the progression of the patient to experience resolution of the trauma and/or related symptoms/behaviors. Transforming suffering: changes in perception using EMDR is the resultant substantive theory. The implications of this theoretical framework for psychotherapeutic practice and future research are reviewed.


Changes In Perception; Grounded Theory Method; EMDR; Temporal Perspectives; Processing Fields; Presencing