Working with EMDR in the hot spots of refugees arrivals


The contribution of the EMDR community to the latest critical and massive events occurring in Europe will be described, since EMDR therapy is having a role ofgreat interest working with victims of terroristic attacks and with the refugees and asylum seekers in march.

According to research and International guidelines EMDR therapy can give a great contribution to refugees to prevent mental disorders, resolving risk factors and facilitating integration and adjustment to a new culture, using and transforming the critical experiences that this population is exposed to in a constructive way.

EMDR treatment is implemented in this humanitarian emergency and with populations exposed to terroristic attacks in the different phases of trauma, individually and in groups. EMDR clinicians throughout Europe have been involved with different purposes:

- To intervene in acute phase of traumatization related to critical incidents, reduction of arousal reactions, prevent the accumulation of traumatic stress
- To intervene with refugees to reduce risk factors for mental and emotional disorders - To intervene with the groups in order to enhance resources and protection factors
- To process trauma occurred before, during and after the flight
- To intervene with personnel that has been exposed to high levels of stress related to their humanitarian work
- To prepare refugees to have further psychological support in European countries, through EMDR Europe network.

EMDR treatment is easily implemented with the help of a translator, it has been widely used already with translators in European countries in the last 15 years. The EMDR protocol has been appropriately adapted and integrated, without difficulties while working in unstable conditions, with refugees coming from different cultures, religions and languages.






Isabel Fernandez

Original Work Citation

Fernandez, I. (2016, June). Working with EMDR in the hot spots of refugees arrivals. In Refugee crisis in Europe and its implications for EMDR therapists (Udi Oren, Chair).  Keynote/Roundtable presented at the at the 17th EMDR Europe Association Conference, The Hague



“Working with EMDR in the hot spots of refugees arrivals,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 21, 2022,

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