With the approval of the Ministry of Family and Social Services, starting from March 1, 2023 to March 26, 2023, EMDR Turkey provided psychotherapy support to 3,720 children, young, and adult earthquake victims who were in the earthquake zone or those who left the region and had dispersed to 70 different provinces. Face-toface and online psychotherapy sessions to help them recover from their trauma were offered.
2,500 psychotherapists who have received European accredited EMDR training and are members of EMDR Turkiye Association, and 400 psychotherapists who are members of ÇATED Couple and Family Therapy Association were intervening.
Psychotherapy services to earthquake victims were offered by applying a rotation system to the visits of 1,097 volunteer therapists who are members of the EMDR Trauma Recovery Group of EMDR Turkey Association.
Following the approval of the Ministry of Family and Social Services, 55 therapists will travel to 11 cities in the earthquake area every week for the next two years on a rotational system. Additionally, through the studies conducted in 70 cities, besides offering face to face and online therapies, victims who are suitable for group therapy will be intervened with EMDR individual-group protocols.
Based on research and past experiences, EMDR Turkey found that after large-scale disasters, many survivors may experience a decrease in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) even without formal treatment. However, for an average of (around 15-30%) survivors , PTSD symptoms can become chronic and long-lasting, and can be compounded over time by other problems such as addiction and personality disorders. EMDR Turkey states that “with 13.4 million people living in the earthquake area, it is estimated that if we do not intervene quickly, 2-3 million individuals could develop serious psychological and psychiatric problems. Therefore, it is our top priority to provide early and effective support to disasters and traumatic events, as it can help prevent long-term harm to both individuals and communities”.
The studies being conducted have the potential to help earthquake victims overcome the trauma of the disaster and resume their normal daily lives and work routines. In addition to the significant benefits this could bring to those affected, it can also be anticipated a positive impact on the economy. By enabling individuals to return to work and contribute to society, an increased productivity and economic growth in the affected areas could be seen.