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Session 105

AIP-Inspired Group Trauma Processing – Utilizing online, low cost, and efficient strategies for International populations

* Formerly titled: Comparison of PIPA Group Trauma Reduction Program results between EMDR-Trained and non-EMDR-Trained Therapists in Ethiopia


Increasingly high levels of global news coverage on military conflicts, natural disasters, mass shootings, human trafficking, and many other forms of trauma have increased the demand for group trauma treatment in order to help large numbers of people as quickly, efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

The PIPA program (Professional Intervention Program for Adversity) was created by two Brazilian EMDR Trainers, Dr. Esly Carvalho, Ph.D. and Silvia Guz, and has been in use in South America for the past several years.  PIPA combines psychoeducation, resourcing exercises, the Group Flash Technique, and group trauma processing with the Quadrants exercise, an adaptation of the IGTP, so as to provide an in-depth experience of trauma and stress reduction for groups of almost any size.

Ethiopian therapists have been learning EMDR from Trauma Recovery/HAP-supported trainings on and off since 2009 and these therapists have often been asked to work with traumatized groups of people throughout their country. They formed the base for our PIPA research study. The level of trauma the therapists are encountering throughout Ethiopia ranges from high to extremely severe, and oftentimes they are allotted only 1 to 3 days with which to work with each group. Our preliminary data is extremely encouraging, and we have already begun training non-EMDR therapists to use PIPA as well. The plans are to publish the results comparing these two groups of therapists within the next year.

Working in a developing country where factors are not always ideal requires patience, flexibility, and a willingness to adapt. Training within cultural, religious and ethnic differences can be quite challenging. During the past three years of the COVID pandemic, all of the EMDR and the PIPA trainings in Ethiopia have been done online, which meant overcoming many challenges, including electrical blackouts, slow Internet speeds, illness, etc. In spite of all of these obstacles, the PIPA program has proven to be a great success in a short period of time. Funding has been provided by Trauma Recovery/HAP. Dr. Carvalho and Dorothy Ashman have spent the last year volunteering their time to create an Ethiopian PIPA manual, PIPA videos, live trainings, and consultations. The hope is that this model can be offered successfully to other countries who are facing their own traumatic situations.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendees will recognize how to handle unexpected obstacles with creative and flexible approaches when working with other cultures and with countries who do not have the technological resources we have in the US.
  2. Attendees will be able to summarize the preliminary results that Ethiopians are reporting from the PIPA program as recorded in pre- and post-PCL-5 surveys, and the comparison of SUDS levels before and after the PIPA program.
  3. Attendees will recognize how an AIP-inspired group trauma program can be effectively delivered through the use of videos, online trainings, and in-person practica.

About the Presenters:

Solomon Abebe is an EMDR therapist, a Licensed Counseling Psychologist, and a psychosocial and life skill trainer. He is a member of the European Register of ECP Holders and a certified trainer of Positive and Transcultural Psychotherapy in Africa and Europe. He is also a member of the World Association for Positive and Transcultural Psychotherapy (WAPP) and the President of the Ethiopian Positive Psychotherapy Association.

Solomon is the Founder, Managing Director, and Lead Trainer of Hasset Psychotherapy and Training Center based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has provided trainings to the government, to non-governmental organizations, and to corporations, as well as presenting scholarly papers at local and international conferences. As an EMDR therapist, Solomon has provided individual psychotherapy and group trauma treatment to a variety of target populations in Ethiopia and Europe. He was recently appointed to the advisory board of UCESCO Africa.

Solomon is the author of the book “Mental Distress and Sexual Violence among Refugees at Sherkole Camp: Mental Health Perspective,” and contributed a chapter to the book “Positive Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychology Clinical Applications.”

Solomon is the lead PIPA Trainer (Professional Intervention Program for Adversity) in Ethiopia and is strongly committed to teaching and researching the impact of PIPA.

Dorothy Ashman, M.A. is a licensed Psychologist and an EMDR Facilitator for Trauma Recovery/HAP and the EMDR Institute. Dorothy founded Bloomsburg Psychological Center, LLC, where she specialized in working with traumatized and dissociated clients. She was trained in EMDR in 1996-97.

Dorothy began working with Trauma Recovery/HAP in 2008, and traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia five times between 2009 and 2013, where she organized and facilitated EMDR trainings.

In 2019, Dorothy began virtual consultation and HAP-supported virtual EMDR trainings for Ethiopian therapists. Trauma Recovery/HAP awarded Dorothy the “International World Changer” award in 2021.

For the past year, Dorothy and Dr. Esly Carvalho have been working on creating the media for Dr. Carvalho’s PIPA training for countries with inconsistent Internet service and challenging accessibility. Dorothy is very committed to helping Ethiopians and people throughout Africa and the world gain access to PIPA to help reduce the level of trauma in group settings in a gentle and safe way. 

Dr. Sik-Lam Wong is a psychotherapist, a researcher, and a pioneer in the Flash Technique (FT). He has an early interest in groups for low-intensity trauma intervention. His first paper was on a divorce recovery group using EMDR-IGTP. He also published the first paper on an FT group for substance abusers in a homeless shelter. Dr. Wong led groups for victims of the Santa Rosa Fire in 2017; and under the TRN of Northern California, for victims of the Paradise Fire in 2018. He has taught FT to master-level social work students at California State University, East Bay, since 2020.

Solomon Abebe, Licensed Counseling Psychologist

Dorothy Ashman, MA

Sik-Lam Wong, PhD, LMFT

Day & Time: Friday, April 21
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Length of time: 90 minutes

Credits: 1.5 EMDRIA CEUs and 1.5 CEs
*Pending approval.