EMDR emergency treatment for manmade and natural disasters


EMDR is a well-established therapy for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can be reduced or prevented if treated during the first month after a trauma when a person displays Acute Stress Disorder (ASD). Although usually used later, EMDR has also been used effectively in the immediate period following trauma. Victims of immediate trauma often exhibit “silent terror” or extreme stress .The Emergency Response Procedure (ERP), described in the Humanitarian Assistance Program’s (HAP) Disaster Manual and Marilyn Luber’s : EMDR Scripted Protocols: Basic and Special Situations.(2009)and Implementing EMDR Early Mental Health Interventions for Man-Made and Natural Disasters: Models, Scripted Protocols and Summary Sheets, (2013 ) was developed to deal with victims of natural and man-made disaster within hours of exposure to trauma.

Participants in this workshop will learn how to identify and respond to clients in the immediate aftermath of trauma, utilizing ERP. This will be understood within the overall context of the principles of Psychological First Aid. This same basic approach can be applied in the event of strong abreaction during the initial phase of History-taking, and prior to the Preparation Phase of EMDR or at other times of treatment when patients exhibit strong emotional reactions. Similarly, treatment with ERP may also be considered for patients exhibiting this “silent terror” or extreme stress during initial treatment by first responders at the scene of an accident or in ambulances en route to medical facilities. Case examples will be presented to illustrate the successful treatment of Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) with survivors the Tsunami in Thailand, and with victims of terror and war.

In this presentation the Recent Events Protocol will be examined, with particular emphasis on modifying the Positive Cognitions (PC) in the face of continuing ongoing danger. EMD (Eye Movement Desensitization), the original protocol developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1989, and modified by Elan Shapio and Brurit Laub in R-TEP will be described and compared to the standard EMDR protocol with emphasis as used in emergency settings where multiple patients need rapid treatment. Group EMDR usually used with children will be presented as well as modified by Elan Shapiro as G-TEP for adults.

A practicum will follow on ERP.






Gary Quinn

Original Work Citation

Quinn, G. (2017, April). EMDR emergency treatment for manmade and natural disasters. Preconference presentation (Jinsong Zhang, Chair) at the 3rd EMDR Asia International Conference, Shanghai, China



“EMDR emergency treatment for manmade and natural disasters,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed December 8, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/24384.

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