Randomized Controlled Trial: Self-Care Traumatic Episode Protocol, Computerized EMDR Treatment of COVID-19-Related Stress
Healthcare workers and mental health clinicians are at heightened risk for mental health issues while they support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and early psychological intervention is crucial to protect them. The Self-Care Traumatic Episode Protocol (STEP) is a computerized intervention adapted from the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Group Traumatic Episode Protocol (EMDR G-TEP). This study evaluated the effectiveness of STEP for mental health clinicians in the context of COVID-19. Thirty-four mental health clinicians were randomly allocated to treatment (n = 17) or waitlist (n = 17). The Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE) and Depression and Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) were completed by the treatment group at baseline and 1-week follow-up postintervention and by the waitlist group at baseline, preintervention, and 1-week follow-up postintervention. Pre–post comparisons showed a significant decrease in depression, anxiety, and stress for Immediate Treatment, t(15) = −3.64, p < .01, d = .73, and for Delayed Treatment, t(15) = −3.53, p < .01, d = .68, There was also a significant increase in general self-efficacy for Immediate Treatment, t(15) = 2.87, p < .05, d = .46, and Delayed Treatment, t(15) = 3.72, p < .01, d = .56. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) indicated that STEP may be effective in increasing general self-efficacy and reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress among mental health clinicians in the context of COVID-19. Further research investigating the potential of utilizing the STEP intervention on a larger scale and with other populations is needed.