Early EMDR interventions


In the medical realm, care givers strive to utilize prevention as a primary means to avoid serious chronic long term conditions.  In mental health, we often wait to treat until a serious diagnosis is evident: PTSD, Depression, Substance Abuse, OCD, among many others. New research is beginning to demonstrate that EMDR therapy given immediately after a traumatic incident can reduce serious life altering symptoms from occurring. The implications are significant to mental health, physical health, relationships and over all quality of life.

Evidence is growing that trauma leads to serious life altering after effects. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale (ACES) and Epigenetics are producing significant research to support this assumption. However, in the field of mental health, interventions do not begin until the serious symptoms appear. What if there was a way to intervene and stop symptoms from developing in the first place? What if resiliency and post trauma growth can be supported and grown shortly after an incident?

Mental Health responses to traumatic events have been primarily focused on stabilization of basic needs, education of self care following a significant event, and what to look out for that indicates a more serious issue is developing. PTSD can develop in 3 months to several decades after the incident. After effects of trauma are other diagnosis leading care givers to miss assessing for trauma all together. By this time, those educated have long forgotten what to look for that indicates an after effect of trauma. The after effects of the impact of trauma have taken hold. As a profession, mental health counselors are in a wonderful position to help educate the public about prevention of post traumatic after effects by receiving treatment for the incident as quickly as possible. Don’t wait for the infection to set in.

The EMDR therapy community is actively involved in ongoing research to help further this effort. There are over 8 different protocols, books, a research tool kit and an International Summit all aimed to help facilitate this effort. Additionally, work is underway to help create a simple protocol, like basic first aid, which can be delivered by first responders and even lay people in third world countries with very limited infrastructure. This area of EMDR early intervention is growing remarkably quickly.

EMDR therapy early interventions can be delivered in a wide range of settings and in response to an even greater range of recent traumatic events. Settings and types of events will be explored and a variety of EMDR protocols will demonstrate a wide diversity of application of EMDR.

Overall, helping mental health counselors to see possibilities for early intervention and to facilitate client’s trauma resolution even before a diagnosis can be made is a goal for this program. Prevention is the key. EMDR therapy and possibly other therapy modalities as well, can be apart of this change in how counselors look timing of intervention.






Regina Morrow Robinson

Original Work Citation

Robinson, R. M. (2018, August). Early EMDR interventions. Presentation at the American Mental Health Counselors Association Annual Conference, Orlando Florida



“Early EMDR interventions,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed April 10, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/25444.

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