EMDR on the frontline: Early interventions during military operations


Some of the earliest applications of EMDR were with military veterans (Shapiro 1995, Shapiro & Forrest 1997). EMDR is now widely used to treat UK military personnel suffering from combat related PTSD. This presentation will consider extending the use of EMDR as an early intervention during frontline operations. Research suggests the importance of early detection in PTSD (Lee et al 2005) and the benefits of early intervention (North 2001). Current practice is that UK personnel who are having significant difficulties in functioning after exposure to trauma are sent back to the UK for treatment after a brief period of watchful waiting. This is can be detrimental, both to the unit and individual (Shepard 2000, Solomon et al 2005). EMDR offers a potential solution to this problem. A case study will be presented of a soldier who was suffering significant post trauma symptoms whilst serving in Afghanistan. Through the successful use of EMDR in theatre just 2 weeks after the trigger event, he was able to resume his normal duties and hence avoid the negative effects of being returned to the UK for treatment. The use of EMDR as a frontline treatment has far reaching implications but currently there is little evidence for its use as an early intervention with military personnel (Russell 2006). Future research to evaluate this novel application of EMDR is planned. This presentation will introduce participants to the challenges of providing psychological treatment during military operations and the potential value of EMDR in this setting.






Jamie Hacker Hughes
Matthew Wesson

Original Work Citation

Hacker-Hughes, J., & Wesson, M. (2008, June). EMDR on the frontline: Early interventions during military operations. Presentation at the 9th EMDR Europe Association Conference, London, England



“EMDR on the frontline: Early interventions during military operations,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed August 12, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/18265.

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