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Drawing by a child that reads Maui Strong with flowers, mountains and sun.

Bringing EMDR Therapy to Hawaii

For nearly 30 years, Trauma Recovery/HAP has worked to increase the capacity for effective treatment of psychological trauma in communities in need worldwide. Through our work, we have learned that in order to create lasting and effective trauma healing, local communities and their members must be at the center of our work.

Earlier this year, the Hawaiian island of Maui experienced one of the deadliest US fires in recent years. There is widespread devastation. Many of the survivors have lost everything; they have lost their loved ones, families have lost their homes, people have lost their jobs, children have lost their schools and their sense of stability and safety.

The work to recover and rebuild will take time, and our experience teaches us, the true mental health impact on the community will unfold in the months and years to come, requiring a long-term response.

“Our community has experienced a life-altering event. The individual and collective impact of the trauma will be felt for years to come. We are a small island, and everyone has been affected in some way by this tragedy,” shared Sally, a local EMDR therapist.

Trauma Recovery/HAP has listened to and relied on local contacts to express what the community needs and how we can best help. Working with a local clinician who helped explore interest in the community for an EMDR training, 21 clinicians from Maui and Oahu were identified and signed up for a HAP training. They completed their EMDR Part 1 training in November and are scheduled to complete their Part 2 in early March.

By training local clinicians, we are able to increase the number of EMDR trained professionals available to support the community in the long term and ensure those providing mental health support are culturally competent, as they come from the local community they will serve.

“I am humbled that HAP generously offered a timely EMDR training to those serving the island of Maui. As more clinicians are trained in the modality of EMDR, I am confident that it will aid in the process of a community reeling and hoping that healing is possible.

Through a combination of HAP’s flexibility and generosity as well as the generosity of a community donor this therapeutic ideal for many clinicians became a reality. Several participants expressed a desire to be trained in EMDR over the years but could not afford the costs associated.

HAP, thank you again for this training and the connection to phenomenal trainers and consultants. We are grateful and I know that this community and its trauma survivors will be as well,” shared Sally.

With the frequency of disasters and traumatic events on the rise around the world, there’s an urgent need to respond thoughtfully and intentionally to help impacted communities heal and recover.

The world needs EMDR expertise and trauma healing now, more than ever. Together, we can bring trauma healing to people in need around the world.

Your support makes all the difference! Please consider a gift today to support the work of Trauma Recovery/HAP.