Treatment of a couple that survived the tsunami with their four children


Twelve days after the 26th of December 2004 a couple came to my private practice, on referral from Prof. Dr. Ad de Jongh. that looked death in the eye when the Tsunami hit Sri Lanka. The couple has four children, age four to eleven, who survived with them. On Sri Lanka they were called 'The fortune family'. They both had severe symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder: reliving the disaster day and night and were, only just, managing to take care of the children and their daily life.

They already read about EMDR and had their hopes up that I could help them stabilize. As soon as they started telling me about their distressing experience I noticed that, especially the woman, started reliving it. Knowing that they had been telling everything already many times to family and friends, I asked them f I could immediately do the first EMDR session with each of them. Quite noticeable was that the experience was still in their minds with every detail and with several peaks of the most distressing moments. In total they had three single sessions each with two-days intervals. Their children who at first were doing relatively well had started to develop serious symptoms and needed treatment; after the three EMDR sessions for each of the parents they were stable and could give their full attention to EMDR-treatment of their children, who went to Carlijn de Roos MA, clinical child-psychologist, who leads a trauma centre for children in the Netherlands. At the end of February the parents were still doing well and at the time of the EMDR Europe Conference I will have seen them for a follow-up.






Ellen Latenstein
Carlijn de Roos

Original Work Citation

Latenstein, E., & de Roos, C. (2005, June). Treatment of a couple that survived the tsunami with their four children. In "EMDR in action," Part 2. Symposium conducted at the 6th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Brussels, Belgium



“Treatment of a couple that survived the tsunami with their four children,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 25, 2020,

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