Research Project 

All-Ireland Therapist TRAUMA Response Panel

All-Ireland CONSULTANTS (Supervisors) Panel

Early Intervention Online EMDR Therapy (Group Traumatic Episode Protocol) for Front Line Health & Social Care Workers experiencing Psychological Distress & Trauma in response to Covid-19

 

As the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic spreads throughout the world as a highly infectious disease causing severe acute respiratory symptoms, it is also generating widespread anxiety, fear, stress and trauma. Both the virus, and the subsequent management of the pandemic – including social isolation and physical distancing, distressing symptoms, hospitalisation, and for some, death, creates a powerful trauma ripple effect. People are experiencing wide-spread disruption to their normal lives. Those at the acute end being Frontline/ Emergency Keyworkers in Health & Social Care and First Responders.

At this time many people do not feel that they are in the headspace to be able to talk at length about their experiences of their Covid-19 work. The iGTEP intervention being used has been developed and informed by work with the Yazidi women in Northern Iraq, who experienced substantial trauma. It allows people to work on traumatic material without having to discuss it; indeed, the therapist does not need to know any detail of the material being worked upon. It focuses on stabilising the participant and equips them with a way to relax. “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brown.

These are extraordinary and unprecedented times, that often require extraordinary measures. In response this is a unique collaborative response by Trauma Response Network Ireland in conjunction with EMDR All-Ireland Association and five UK Universities – Worcester, Queens, Ulster, Northumbria and Bath Spa, to address the psychological distress of Frontline / Keyworkers fighting the COVID-19 virus in Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe, USA and beyond.

The study is a randomised control trial (RCT) comparing an EMDR therapy early intervention, rapid response trauma treatment (Group Traumatic Episode Protocol – GTEP) versus a control group of ‘Treatment as Usual’.

The proposal is a 12-month project that will provide a vital understanding as to the most appropriate and effective ways of supporting Frontline / Keyworkers in addressing their psychological trauma symptoms and experiences. Frontline / Keyworkers are the vital combatants in the battle with this dreadful virus, everything needs to be done to support them in this vital endeavour. This research will provide us with crucial data that can be used to cascade to the wider world.

This is a contemporaneous research project under the auspices of Trauma Response Network Ireland and EMDR All-Ireland in conjunction with five UK Higher Education Institutions: University of Worcester, Queens University – Belfast, Ulster University, Bath Spa University and Northumbria University. Its primary research participant group are Frontline / Keyworker Health and Social Care workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with particular focus upon its impact in Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe, USA and beyond.  The research focus is that of psychological trauma experienced by the research participant group and the impact of an  early intervention using an empirically supported psychological treatment intervention. Ostensibly, this is a feasibility study, however it also represents a ground breaking collaboration of many academic institutions, under the auspices of EMDR All Ireland, in addressing the psychological wellbeing and mental health of Frontline / Keyworkers in regard to psychological trauma as a direct consequence of COVID-19 Coronavirus.