The contribution of EMDR with children survivors of mass trauma


This paper describes the application of EMDR as an early trauma-focused treatment with children involved in mass disasters (natural disasters, accidents and intentionally provoked incidents).

EMDR treatment was part of a comprehensive treatment of the population and was the elective treatment for children of those elementary schools, which were most exposed to the traumatic events. In most cases, 3 cycles of EMDR treatment were organized at one month, three months and one year after the critical event. Individual sessions were used for the school children due to the serious exposure to trauma and grief including: threat to life, loss of friends and siblings.

Psychological support and EMDR treatment was provided to parents and school personnel, and this aspect has been considered fundamental in enhancing treatment results in children during the last interventions.

Results of questionnaires and clinical interviews to assess posttraumatic symptomatology before and after treatment will be shown along with follow up data. Treatment groups show a significant improvement after EMDR treatment. Results and statistical data regarding EMDR treatment with heavily traumatized children will be presented.

The author will discuss clinical aspects of using EMDR with children following recent traumas of great magnitude. Analysis and evaluation of children's reactions and needs have highlighted significant epidemiological aspects.

The posttraumatic stress reactions of this group in developmental age will be discussed. EMDR treatment for parents and other adults involved in the disaster has proven critical when dealing with children's symptomatology. Guidelines and indications for structured interventions with all parties involved (parents, school personnel, community) from our field studies will be presented.






Isabel Fernandez

Original Work Citation

Fernandez, I. (2010, June). The contribution of EMDR with children survivors of mass trauma. Keynote presented at the 11th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Hamburg, Germany



“The contribution of EMDR with children survivors of mass trauma,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed May 28, 2020,

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