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Open Access The EMDR Protocol for Recent Critical Incidents: Application in a Disaster Mental Health Continuum of Care Context

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This randomized, controlled group field study was conducted subsequent to a 7.2 earthquake in North Baja California, Mexico. Treatment was provided according to continuum of care principles. Crisis management debriefing was provided to 53 individuals. After this, the 18 individuals who had high scores on the Impact of Event Scale (IES) were then provided with the eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) Protocol for Recent Critical Incidents (EMDR-PRECI), a single-session modified EMDR protocol for the treatment of recent trauma. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups: immediate treatment group and waitlist/delayed treatment group. There was no improvement in the waitlist/ delayed treatment group, and scores of the immediate treatment group participants were significantly improved, compared with waitlist/delayed treatment group paticipants. One session of EMDR-PRECI produced significant improvement on symptoms of posttraumatic stress for both the immediate-treatment and waitlist/delayed treatment groups, with results maintained at 12-week follow-up, even though frightening aftershocks continued to occur frequently. This study provides preliminary evidence in support of the protocol's efficacy in a disaster mental health continuum of care context. More controlled research is recommended to evaluate further the efficacy of this intervention.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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