EMDR Therapy Humanitarian Assistance Programs: Treating the Psychological, Physical, and Societal Effects of Adverse Experiences Worldwide
The negative effects of trauma and other adverse life experiences have been shown to interfere with individual, family, and societal functioning. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is empirically supported and recommended as a frontline treatment for psychological trauma in numerous practice guidelines. It provides both effective and efficient treatment without the need for detailed descriptions of the disturbing event or homework. This allows field teams to provide culturally sensitive therapy on consecutive days for those in remote areas and in crisis situations. Humanitarian assistance organizations have conducted projects internationally to provide EMDR therapy after both natural and manmade disasters and have helped develop sustainable mental health resources worldwide. This brief introduction provides an overview of current programs, treatment rationale, and a call for future action.