Dear Dr. Owen,
Thank you for identifying your EMDR training level for me. EMDR appears to be quite successful with somatic manifestations. However, the somatic disorder protocol is covered in the Level II training. It is also written up in the 1995 textbook (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Priniciples, Protocols and Procedures, Shapiro, Guilford Press).
Briefly, it is important to take a clinical history that identifies the events that were occurring at the time of the first physical manifestation of the disorder. Further, identify any secondary gain issues, characterological issues that may be contributing to physical or mental stress, present stressors, etc. These targets should be processed. It is possible that the illness is purely organic,in which case the goal will be increased quality of life, and any benefits that may be derived through the principles of psychneuroimmunology. For other clients, somatic manifestations may merely be stored somatic memories which simply need direct processing.
I was fascinated by Dr. Nathanson's post and look forward to the affect theory knowledge base more generally informing the work of the EMDR clinician. Hopefully, EMDR will also assist in the continued evolution and refinement of affect theory, as well as its direct clinical applications. Happily many EMDR clinicians feel similarly and Dr. Nathanson is presenting one of the keynotes at the annual 1998 EMDRIA Conference.