The healing outreach of EMDR-HAP is everywhere in remote regions on the
other side of the globe, in inner cities around the United States, and quite
possibly in your own backyard. The list
below, while far from comprehensive, is a representative overview of the
many places where EMDR-HAP has responded to a need for healing.
Tsunami in South Asia
Training VA and Military Clinicians
Palestine Project Resumed
New York, 9/11
Central & South America
Palestinians & Israelis
In New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the battered communities of southern Louisiana, HAP brought psychoeducation and individual counseling to hundreds of first responders in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Meanwhile, HAP trained 100 local clinicians in New Orleans and Hattiesburg MS in Part I EMDR. Consultation for the participants is underway and Part II training will follow.
HAP training for local non-profit agency clinicians is bringing a new resource to the region: Mississippi's supply of EMDR clinicians more than tripled in one weekend. The clinicians trained in Mississippi and New Orleans will need plenty of consultation as well as Part II in a few months time. Looking ahead, HAP is already being asked to extend both the direct service and the clinical training.
In Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, 200 local clinicians responding to the tsunami were trained over the past year. Many are now immersed in EMDR Part II training and reporting substantial accomplishments already after their Part I training last Spring. In India, a new cohort of clinicians has just begun Part I training and local EMDR associations are beginning to form in Sri Lanka and Thailand, as the reputation of EMDR grows.
In each case, the full benefit of HAP's work rests on shifting the focus from disaster response to mental health resource development. That transition occurred in Turkey after a major earthquake several years ago; today there are growing numbers of EMDR clinicians in Turkey and Turkish consultants visit other countries as HAP volunteers.
Each country where we work presents its own unique pattern of need and resources, and a common goal for HAP - the emergence of a self-sustaining community of EMDR practice.
EMDR was recognized in 2004 as a treatment of choice for combat PTSD by the VA and US Department of Defence in their influential treatment guidelines. Since then, and with added impetus as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has generated record numbers of cases, clinicians at local VA and military facilities have been requesting training from HAP. In 2004, nearly half of HAP's current trainees were working at a VA or military clinic. An internet discussion list for VA and DoD clinicians is a regular part of the HAP website and a source of continuing advice and support for clinicians who are frequently relocated in the course of their careers.
HAP has returned to Palestine after a four-year interruption. Thirty clinicians from the East Jerusalem YMCA will study and practice EMDR just outside of Bethlehem as a three-year development project gets under way. HAP volunteers are bringing a powerful mental health resource to a region overwhelmed by the stress of inter-group conflicts and the dislocations they cause.
For six months following the 1995 bombing of the federal building in
Oklahoma City, 186 EMDR-HAP volunteers rotated into the city, at the urging
of an FBI agent, to treat survivors and train clinicians. We set up a free
clinic and treated more than 250 blast survivors, fire fighters, and rescue
personnel who had trauma symptoms. We also trained more than 300 clinicians,
giving them the tools they needed to continue treatment.
"EMDR assists survivors in the immediate aftermath of violent trauma by
breaking though the walls of denial, shock, grief and anger. [It is] ideal for
those who have been unable to forget past traumatic life events, as it allows for a
rapid processing of even deeply rooted memories, giving individuals back control of
their lives and their emotions."
Dusty Bowencamp, RN CTR,
Disaster Mental Health, American Red Cross
In the wake of the collective trauma that engulfed the nation after 9/11,
EMDR-HAP responded with an unprecedented organizational initiative: We built and
funded an entire new arm of our organization. The Disaster Mental Health Recovery Network
was created to meet the needs of people in New York and Washington, DC directly
affected by the terrorist attacks. Over 850 people, including hundreds of firefighters,
were successfully treated in pro bono sessions.
"I am telling my friends, families and colleagues how much better I am
from having EMDR treatment and urging them to call your program to get help."
Jennifer Adams, Director,
9/11 Widows and Victims' Families Association
During the bloody wars in the Balkans, a coalition of humanitarian
organizations, including U.S. AID, Catholic Relief Services and two
Croatian-based groups, asked for HAPís help in responding to the mental
health needs of refugees and the traumatized population overall. After a
series of trainings in Croatia, the team was subsequently invited to
continue the trainings in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina.
In 1998, officials in Bangladesh recognized the healing potential
EMDR offered to millions of Bangladeshi who were suffering from the ravages
of natural and manmade disasters, and teamed up with HAP in a pioneering
effort to train all of the countryís mental health professionals in the EMDR.
The effort spanned six months and involved more than 40 HAP
volunteers. Trained clinicians now form the core of a healing community that
continues to serve the mental health needs of the population to this day.
"[EMDR Founder] Dr. [Francine] Shapiroís work has proven invaluable to
clinicians around the world in helping people following trauma."
Atle Dyregrov, Ph.D.
When the country was stunned by the tragedy at Columbine High School,
calls from the EMDR-HAP network came pouring in -- therapists offering to
help in any way they could. Working through local crisis-response agencies,
HAP volunteers facilitated a series of training programs for community-based
therapists, including specialized workshops on EMDR for children and
"I wanted to tell you how much it meant to have EMDR as a tool in our
attempt to help this community heal. We know from working with our clients
that it has made all the difference for many of them... Thank you! You
have helped us more than you know."
Project Director, Columbine Connections, Littleton, Colorado
(A community resource and assistance center)
When Hurricane Pauline devastated parts of Mexico in October 1997, HAP
clinicians from the U.S. and Canada responded. They treated school yards of
traumatized children with a group EMDR protocol, and then went on to train
local therapists. When catastrophic earthquakes and flooding struck Central
and South America a few years later, the Mexican therapists continued the
healing chain by responding quickly to treat survivors and train clinicians
in those countriesí devastated villages. In each of these areas, large
numbers of children and parents have received treatment for trauma symptoms.
In April 2002, hundreds of schoolchildren witnessed a small plane
crashing into a neighboring building in Milan, Italy, and watched in horror
as debris, clothing and body parts rained down. One month after the crash,
the children were still unable to eat or sleep normally. EMDR-HAPís Italian
counterpart responded to the headmasterís plea for help. Over a three-day
period, all 236 children, ages 6 to 11, participated in a series of group
EMDR sessions specifically designed for children. According to parents and teachers,
all but two of the students returned to normal immediately after the treatment (the two
received further treatment).
"The teachers also related accounts from the parents, who reported
a decrease in the stress symptoms that they observed for the previous 30 days.
They also commented that they could finally confirm their holiday bookings because
their children were no longer afraid to fly."
I. Fernandez, Psychotramatology Research Center,
E. Gallinari, child Public Health Center, &
A. Lorenzetti, Psychological Public Health Center
Report published in the Journal of Brief Therapy
We reached out to clinicians from Dunblane, Scotland, where 16 children
and their teacher were shot dead at a primary school in March 1996. The
clinicians went home to begin the process of healing for the young children
who survived the shooting and the families of those who died, a process that
endured long after the television cameras had left.
In Northern Ireland, we brought Protestant and Catholic clinicians
together so that they might help break the cycle of violence fueled by
decades of terror and religious conflict. Before the end of one workshop, a
HAP clinician successfully defused one manís violent reaction to a death
threat from the Irish Republican Army.
In Bombay, India, a HAP training mission initiated in 2000 established a
community of EMDR-trained clinicians and launched a massive intervention
project. Just weeks after the first training, a devastating 7.9 earthquake
shook the western India region of Gujarat, killing 20,000 people, injuring
200,000, and impacting another 40 million. The newly trained clinicians
immediately went to work treating the survivors with EMDR, primarily with
group protocols followed up with one-on-one sessions when needed.
Recognizing the fact that post-traumatic symptoms often arise long after the
event, a permanent trauma center has since been established in Bombay to
continue to serve the populationís needs.
"The uniform experience of the entire [India] project team was that
people reported a sense of peacefulness and lightness of mind [after EMDR
therapy]. Teachers of most schools reported a vast improvement in
attention and concentration, school attendance, scholastic performance,
homework completion, crying spells, irritability and aggressiveness in the
children after therapy."
From the EMDR-HAP India Project Report
In San Francisco, EMDR-HAP has teamed up with SAGE (Standing Against
Global Exploitation), an organization that works to get prostitutes off the
streets and to stop sexual exploitation. Based on her own positive
experience with EMDR, the founder of SAGE asked for our help in treating the
young women they serve, who have been sexually exploited and in many cases,
sexually abused. For the past several years, EMDR-trained clinicians have
been providing free or low-cost counseling services to the women, and will
continue to do so under the auspices of SAGE as long as the need remains.
I have personally experienced the profound changes of EMDR treatment.
Within weeks of beginning EMDR, my life changed dramatically. As a result,
I founded the SAGE Project. EMDR treatment is a core service that SAGE
offers to both clients and staff. The EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program
has donated thousands of hours of therapy, training, consultation,
mediation, and support to the SAGE programs. It is impossible to thank all
of the individuals at HAP for their continued support.
Norma Hotaling, Executive Director,
SAGE Project, San Francisco, Calif.
In 1999, two powerful earthquakes struck Turkey just months apart,
leaving 25,000 people dead and 750,000 homeless. EMDR-HAP joined forces with the
Turkish Psychologist's Association, Istanbul Branch, to implement a series of
trauma-therapy training programs and establish volunteer-staffed clinics at the
vast tent cities where displaced families gathered in the aftermath of the tragedy.
An estimated 12,000 people or more have been treated for trauma as a result of the HAP
presence in Turkey.
In early 2000, a group of HAP members from Israel organized a humanitarian program of
EMDR training for Palestinian psychotherapists. The underlying assumption at that time
was that both Palestinians and Israelis -- enemies or not -- were suffering,and the need to
stop the suffering should rise above politics. In one memorable instance, a Palestinian
father of four underwent EMDR as part of a program there. When he began the session, he was
filled with homicidal rage toward all Israelis. At the end of the session, he reported
feeling "much better" and spoke these words: "You must always remember:
Where there is life, there is hope." In the 18 months since his session, this man has
tirelessly worked to establish EMDR programs for children in West Bank refugee camps. He
has given permission for his story to be told in order that others might also have hope.
"You must always remember: Where there is life, there is hope."
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