EMDR therapy in bringing psychological well-being to survivors of natural disaster


The purpose of this paper was to highlight the importance of multipronged approach to relieve the trauma of natural disaster. In 2018 Kerala the southernmost state of India was devastated by floods, landslide and hurricane. Almost all parts of the state were affected by natural calamity. The local mental health professionals reported rise in symptoms of PTSD. The regions that were affected by landslide reported increase in suicide rate. This state has highest literacy rate in India and very strong network of mental health professionals. As soon as rescue and relief work was completed the psychological relief work was undertaken. The first step was training the first responders in psychological first aid. Here the first responders were taught basic stabilization techniques such as safe calm place, light stream, yogic techniques of meditation and so on. This is part of preparation stage of EMDR therapy. These first responders went into the field and did preparatory work of stabilization with survivors. The second part of the project was to train mental health experts in EMDR therapy. This training was done for humanitarian purpose and therefore was conducted on a very low budget, without compromising on quality of trainees and training. The mental health professionals were from all parts of the state and working in the field with survivors of floods, landslides, and hurricane. The third prong of this project was to go out in the field and work with survivors of natural disaster. This was mandatory for the EMDR trained professionals through an undertaking given by them voluntarily. The EMDR trained therapist worked with affected people in different set ups such as tribal’s, fishermen, school set ups and individual clients. This was one of the most successful EMDR therapy work carried out in disaster affected area with involvement of multiple agencies and stakeholders. We are planning to replicate the same model in other parts of country affected by natural calamities.






Mrinalini Purandare

Original Work Citation

Purandare, M. (2020, January). EMDR therapy in bringing psychological well-being to survivors of natural disaster. Paper presented at the 4th EMDR Asia International Conference, Bangkok, Thailand



“EMDR therapy in bringing psychological well-being to survivors of natural disaster,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 19, 2022, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/26276.

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