Responding to tragedies such as the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the mass murders in Newtown, an organization with a focus on psychotherapy was the topic of the weekly program at a meeting of the North Haven Rotary Club in late April. The nonprofit which is self described as “committed to relieving human suffering and breaking the cycle of violence” was founded in the late 80’s by Francine Shapiro, PhD after the Oklahoma bombing.
Originally known as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Humanitarian Assistance Program, the foundation recently decided to shorten its name to Trauma Recovery for obvious reasons. The presenter was a Rotarian from New Haven named Carol Martin who serves as the Executive Director for Trauma Recovery in Hamden where she oversees trainees, volunteers, and host agencies.
The charity now operates in 50 states and 33 countries training clinicians and first responders on how to deal with the victims of traumatic events. She emphasized that trauma affects far more than just soldiers fighting in a war zone, adding that most people have experienced trauma, whether in a car accident, or a national disaster. Martin explained that trauma can have a lasting effect on anyone who experiences significantly disturbing events or a sudden loss. Consequences of this overload may include depression, anxiety, fear, guilt, addiction, violence, poor job performance, and/or poor parenting.
The presenter said that it is difficult for clinicians and first responders to learn new treatment options in the midst of a disaster, or when confronted by clients with complex and often extended trauma symptoms. Trauma Recovery develops networks of trained clinicians who train other clinicians in their own communities. Further details can be found at http://www.emdrhap.org.