Your outpouring of interest in the latest research on EMDR for treating recent traumatic events and disasters has been gratifying. The EMDR Research Foundation is eager to bridge the link between research and practice in our desire to support clinicians to provide the most effective, efficient, compassionate service to those who suffer.
We believe you will find the following four articles equally instructive in your work with clients who have been impacted by a recent trauma or disaster. We have provided the abstracts with links to the free, full-text articles. Please share this blog with your colleagues.
Jarero, I., Artigas, L., & Luber, M. (2011). The EMDR protocol for recent critical incidents: Application in a disaster mental health continuum of care context. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 5(3), 82-94. doi:10.1891/1933-322.214.171.124.
FREE FULL-TEXT DOWNLOAD: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/springer/emdr/2011/00000005/00000003/art00001
This randomized, controlled group field study was conducted subsequent to a 7.2 earthquake in North Baja California, Mexico. Treatment was provided according to continuum of care principles. Crisis management debriefing was provided to 53 individuals. After this, the 18 individuals who had high scores on the Impact of Event Scale (IES) were then provided with the eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) Protocol for Recent Critical Incidents (EMDR-PRECI), a single-session modified EMDR protocol for the treatment of recent trauma. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups: immediate treatment group and waitlist/delayed treatment group. There was no improvement in the waitlist/ delayed treatment group, and scores of the immediate treatment group participants were significantly improved, compared with waitlist/delayed treatment group paticipants. One session of EMDR-PRECI produced significant improvement on symptoms of posttraumatic stress for both the immediate-treatment and waitlist/delayed treatment groups, with results maintained at 12-week follow-up, even though frightening aftershocks continued to occur frequently. This study provides preliminary evidence in support of the protocol’s efficacy in a disaster mental health continuum of care context. More controlled research is recommended to evaluate further the efficacy of this intervention.
Jarero, I., & Uribe, S. (2011). The EMDR Protocol for recent critical incidents: Brief report of an application in a human massacre situation. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 5(4), 156-165. doi:10.1891/1933-3126.96.36.199.
FREE FULL-TEXT DOWNLOAD: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/springer/emdr/2011/00000005/00000004/art00002
This ongoing field study was conducted subsequent to the discovery of clandestine graves with 218 bodies recovered in the Mexican state of Durango in April 2011. A preliminary psychometric assessment was conducted with the 60 State Attorney General employees who were working with the corpses to establish a triage criterion and provide baseline measures. The Impact of Event Scale (IES) and the short posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rating interview were administered, and the 32 individuals whose scores indicated moderate-to-severe posttraumatic stress and PTSD symptoms were treated with the eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) Protocol for Recent Critical Incidents (EMDR-PRECI). Participants were assigned to two groups: immediate treatment (severe scores) and waitlist/delayed treatment (moderate scores). Each individual client session lasted between 90 and 120 minutes. Results showed that one session of EMDR-PRECI produced significant improvement on self-report measures of posttraumatic stress and PTSD symptoms for both the immediate treatment and waitlist/delayed treatment groups. This study provides preliminary evidence in support of the protocol’s efficacy in a natural setting of a human massacre situation to a group of traumatized adults working under extreme stressors. More controlled research is recommended to evaluate further the protocol’s efficacy.
Shapiro, E. (2009). EMDR treatment of recent trauma. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 3(3), 141-151. doi:10.1891/1933-3188.8.131.52 .
FREE FULL-TEXT DOWNLOAD: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/springer/emdr/2009/00000003/00000003/art00004
Although eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has demonstrated efficacy in treating chronic posttraumatic stress disorder and old trauma memories, EMDR treatment of recent traumatic events has not received adequate attention from EMDR researchers or clinicians. This article presents current thinking and findings about early psychological intervention following recent traumatic events and examines the status of early EMDR intervention (EEI) concepts and research. It is contended that this area has not developed sufficient awareness and definition among EMDR clinicians. Francine Shapiro’s theoretical adaptive information-processing model predicts that dysfunctionally stored trauma memories underlie many current psychological disorders. Consequently, the assumption that memories of a recent traumatic event and its sequelae are not fully consolidated offers a unique role for EEI not only in reducing acute distress but also in preventing the sensitization and accumulation of trauma memories. A call is made for a more comprehensive approach to the field of EEI to promote interest and awareness among EMDR practitioners and to generate research.
Tofani, L. R., & Wheeler, K. (2011). The recent-traumatic episode protocol: Outcome evaluation and analysis of three case studies. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 5(3), 95-110. doi:10.1891/1933-3184.108.40.206.
FREE FULL-TEXT DOWNLOAD: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/springer/emdr/2011/00000005/00000003/art00002;jsessionid=jc6tc7rosr7.alice
This article evaluates and illustrates the application of the recent-traumatic episode protocol (R-TEP) with three diverse clients: a child with chronic illness, a woman with a significant loss, and an adolescent who self-harmed. The R-TEP is an adaptation of the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) protocol for early EMDR intervention. Sessions are presented in detail to highlight the shifts in information processing that occur during treatment. Observed markers used to analyze the flow of processing are identified, which include distancing from the trauma; reduction in negative affect or change in reported emotions; accessing more adaptive information; changes in the Subjective Units of Disturbance scale; and the Validity of Cognition scale and Impact of Event Scale–Revised indicating shifts in perception of the traumatic memory. Pre-post R-TEP treatment gains were noted for all clients, with changes in behavior and functioning. Theoretical underpinnings of the R-TEP are discussed with respect to the reported observations. The specific contribution of the protocol is highlighted, considering its procedural components and related plausible mechanisms of change.
The EMDR Research Foundation is grateful to the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, the official publication of EMDRIA, for making these articles open-access. Anyone (not just EMDRIA members!) can access these four articles at no charge. Our thanks go to all of the researchers who have dedicated their time and efforts to advance clinical excellence, and to the Journal’s editorial board led by editor Louise Maxfield.
To learn more about the work of the EMDR Research Foundation please read the December 2012 President’s Message by Wendy Freitag at http://emdriaf.affiniscape.com/associations/13386/files/FoundationDec2012.pdf