Dear Friends & Colleagues,
I know this has been a historically difficult year, for the world and for many individuals, families, businesses, and communities. The year has been challenging and also exciting for us, and I'm proud of the way we have responded. I’m writing to tell you more about what we’re doing, and to ask for your help.
We've done a lot of good this year!
Pandemic Response. To support the professional community during the pandemic response, we provided free webinars to over 9,000 therapists, on topics such as Flash technique, intensive trauma-focused therapy, and grounding techniques in tele-therapy. We also participated in a project to provide no-cost group Flash sessions to 175 front-line workers with pandemic-related distress. Also, after years of resisting training online for quality reasons, to our surprise, we found that we were actually able to improve the quality of our training programs by taking advantage of opportunities available to the online training format.
Black Lives Matter. We didn't want to be just one more organization with a Black Lives Matter statement; we wanted to be part of the solution. So we developed a Social Justice Scholarships program which has already distributed about $16,000 worth of training to BIPOC and/or T/GNC mental health professionals. We've also started an internal Social Justice Committee to explore our own practices in therapy and training. We have already made a number of revisions to our training programs, and the work is ongoing.
Flash Technique. We've just submitted a large study of the Flash technique outcomes of therapists in training, and are about to submit another of Flash used with groups of COVID front-line workers; these Flash studies were done with collaborators. We have also provided a number of one-day Flash trainings to therapists who were not already trauma specialists, in the earthquake region of Puerto Rico, and in Beirut after the explosion there. We're currently working with a collaborator to evaluate this program's effectiveness, so it can be revised if/as needed prior to wider dissemination.
Progressive Counting (PC). Our PC research has been progressing nicely. We're currently crunching numbers and writing up three different comparisons of EMDR and PC, including: a) a comparison of brief EMDR to brief PC for motor vehicle accident trauma, b) a comparison of intensive EMDR to intensive PC for 90+ victims of crime, and c) a similar study for 20+ child and teen victims of crime. So far it's looking like PC is matching EMDR on effectiveness, efficiency, and (low) dropout rate. We hope to have these three studies submitted for publication within the next few months.
Intensive trauma-focused therapy. We’re particularly keen on the intensive therapy model we’ve been using, in which the client works for full consecutive days. The intensive format cuts total treatment hours roughly in half, compared to weekly therapy. It’s also very quick, and our clients are routinely seeing major benefit in a matter of days – not the months or years it would otherwise take. We recently published a report of a large open trial of intensive therapy, and will be submitting two other papers shortly (see above). Our intensive therapy outcomes are excellent, with most clients reporting dramatic and sustained improvements after an average 4.5 days of treatment. A couple of our clients were kind enough to describe their experiences on a video.
Our intensive therapy service used to only be available to those who could pay out of pocket. Now we're five years into a grant to provide free intensive trauma therapy to victims of crime in our Western Massachusetts region. Now, people are also able to access our services with funding from auto accident insurance payouts, various states' Victim Compensation boards, restitution/care funds for recovery from clergy abuse, etc. Our goal is to establish intensive trauma therapy, featuring EMDR or PC, as a standard treatment format that is widely available and routinely reimbursed by insurance companies. Here and there, insurance companies are already starting to cover it; we're getting there!
Our clients often tell us, “More people should know about this!” They’re referring their friends and family members, because they recognize that the profound healing via EMDR or PC is preferable to the symptom management approach of some other therapies. And they recognize that overcoming the problem in a few days is way better than waiting for months or years.
So we’re going to continue to grow. In the past five years we've gone from a staff of two to 20+. We now have offices in four states. We’re going to continue to research and develop our treatment and training, to establish effective, efficient, and rapid trauma healing as the standard of care. And we'll continue to train therapists around the world, so this care will be accessible to all who need it.
We need your help to keep our programs going and continue to grow. Insurance doesn’t routinely cover intensive therapy... yet. The Victims of Crime grant only covers 75% of costs, so we must raise the other 25%. We want to continue supporting BIPOC and T/GNC therapists in developing their expertise and their capacity for clinical leadership roles. We are also determined to continue to research EMDR, PC, Flash, and intensive trauma-focused therapy, and much of our research is only funded by you.
We’re a 501(c)3 organization, so your contribution is tax-deductible. Our overhead costs are low, and our work is efficient and effective, so you can be confident that your donation will be used well. And at the same time as we’re helping crime victims to get their lives back, we’re also building the data base that enables us to document outcomes and disseminate the treatment approach more widely. This is like using the same dollar to both feed people and teach them to fish! Your donation is an excellent investment in getting healing to those who need it -- now, and in the future.
Thank you for your support of Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute.
Ricky Greenwald, PsyD
Executive Director, Trauma Institute & Child Trauma Institute
December 2, 2020