Disaster response: EMDR and family systems therapy under communitywide stress



Disaster is commonly understood as an overwhelming misfortune that is not easily overcome or set right. Though our lives may go on after a disaster, it is virtually certain that they will have been transformed in some profound way. Nevertheless, it is very clear that not all who live through a disaster will be traumatized by it and that only a fraction of survivors will develop trauma-related disorders such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Societies that have resources and choose to use them to shore up the infrastructure quickly and effectively will buffer their populations from increasing levels of PTSD. The impact of disasters on family and societal function and intervention priorities are discussed here. Report of the Task Force (2002) of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies is summarized next. The chapter then discusses psychotherapy as a response to disaster. Two approaches to postdisaster psychotherapy that have adapted well in diverse cultural environments are Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR; Shapiro, 2001) and family systems approaches. The therapy process is presented next. Other topics here include family and cultural considerations and group treatment. A case example is presented.


Book Section




Robert A. Gelbach
Katherine E. B. Davis

Original Work Citation

Gelbach, R. A., & Davis, K. E. B. (2007). Disaster response: EMDR and family systems therapy under communitywide stress. In F. Shapiro, F. W. Kaslow, & L. Maxfield (Eds.), Handbook of EMDR and family therapy processes (pp. 387-404). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc



“Disaster response: EMDR and family systems therapy under communitywide stress,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 27, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/17777.

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