EMDR EARLY INTERVENTION WITH SURVIVORS IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE BARCELONA TERROR ATTACKS

19 Feb, 2019

Following the Barcelona terror attacks on August 17th 2018, a crisis unit set up by the Italian Foreign Affairs department formally requested EMDR Italy (one of our member countries) to implement a specialised trauma focused psychological intervention for the family members of an Italian citizen Luca Russo killed by the attack, for his fiancée Marta Scomazzon, who survived despite severe injuries and her family members, in Barcelona and at their arrival in Italy.

The acute phase lasted 4 days and entailed the following:

August 22nd: The Mayor of the victim’s and survivor’s home town meets the coffin of Luca Russo together with the family members, after receiving psychological support.

August 23rd: The Mayor greets Marta Scomazzon at the airport accompanied by her family.

August 24th: Psychological support to Marta and all family members at the burial chamber

August 25th: Psycholgoical internvetiona during the funeral inside the church and at the cemetery.

At the end of the acute phase, a second phase began, during which more EMDR psychotherapists had to join forces and deliver an early intervention to secondary victims living in the nearby counties.

We delivered to all (12 people) several EMDR Recent Events Protocol session (pro bono), as well as psychoeducation on trauma, and the Safe Place installation in order to desensitise the re-experiencing of the traumatic event, preventing the onset of a PTSD and enable an adaptive mourning process. Only Marta and one more relative of her killed fiancé received longer standard protocol EMDR sessions, in order to install more resources and enable the mourning reprocessing and foster the resumption of everyday life.

At a 3 month follow up, those who had received an EMDR intervention did not manifest post-traumatic symptomatolgy and had been able to go back to work/school, as well as start up new projects, thanks to the municipalities who involved Marta and others in community activities.

EMDR Italy’s Intervention terminated with a final CISO (Critical Incident Stress Management) involving the wider community (200 people), together with the Mayor and other institutional representatives