Middle East Project

We have seen a distinct rise in traumatic experiences in the Middle East during the last decade. The post Arab Spring situation in Syria and other neighbouring countries still gripped by civil war continues to cause terror, displacement, death and poverty across the entire region. The complex Israeli / Palestinian situation is no nearer a resolution. The Iraq War, started in 2003, continues to have serious impact on its citizens.

The demand for help with psychological wounds caused by the trauma of war is overwhelming and the resources to assist are scarce.

The Middle East Project began in November 2013. Thirty mental health practitioners from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey’s refugee camps began their Trauma Aid UK EMDR Training in Istanbul. It was delivered in Arabic by Mona Zagrout, an EMDR Trainer from Palestine and her team of facilitators. Emre Konuk, an EMDR Trainer in Turkey, generously provided his premises for training.

Turkish Earthquake 2023

Our thoughts and hearts go out to those suffering

Painted collage created by teachers and children in a Syrian camp near the border where a Trauma Aid UK trained participant worked.

Our thoughts and hearts are with people affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria and all the humanitarian workers. Trauma Aid UK did an EMDR training in Gaziantep in 2016, training local therapists to use EMDR therapy with traumatised populations, many of them Syrian refugees. A short video in Arabic is available here.

Our EMDR colleagues who we trained are especially in our thoughts and we would like to offer our support.

EMDR informed self care exercises for frontline workers can be accessed via the website Traumatic Stress Relief (TSR) – Supporting Frontline Colleagues Remotely. The Arabic translation will be available soon.

HAP Turkey (Humanitarian Assistance Programme) will be providing ‘EMDR Early Intervention for groups’ (GTEP) and Dr Khaled Sultan, a long time Consultant and Training Facilitator with Trauma Aid UK is organising a network of Volunteer EMDR Therapists from the Middle East to provide online therapy to colleagues affected.

A previously scheduled large training in GTEP took place 12-13 February 2023 with our colleagues from Iraq, Syria and Jordan.  The GTEP manual has been translated into Arabic by Trauma Aid UK colleagues: Sarah, Dalia and Zainab.  Thanks to their efforts it will be  made available to the international GTEP community of RTEP/GTEP Trainers and Facilitators from across the globe who have offered support through training, supervision and therapist self-care sessions.

It is in these times of crisis that the unity of the EMDR community shines through.

Video and pictures of training in Gaziantep

This is a four minute video in Arabic about our training in 2016. There is a section in the middle where our late Sian Morgan, then President of Trauma Aid UK, speaks in English about our training. Below are some pictures of Trainees, Trainers and Facilitators.

Middle East Project

Prestigious Award

On the 18 February 2020 the International Psychiatry Conference in Cairo University awarded the Best Clinical Case Management to Miss Shymaa Mady an EMDR clinician trained by Trauma Aid UK. The award was for her case of EMDR therapy with an elderly client with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Her supervisor was Dr. Osama Refaat, Professor of Psychiatry at Cairo University.

Many congratulations to Shymaa on this first award for an EMDR clinician.

Award presentation

New horizons for the Middle East Project

Throughout the Middle East we now have EMDR trained clinicians from nearly every country and with the advent of EMDR Training via Zoom joining the COVID pandemic, we now hope to reach even more as the need to travel across borders and the travel and financial restrictions are much reduced.  Many thanks to Matt Wesson and Prof Osama Refaat of Cairo University for setting the trend in motion……..

As the number of EMDR therapists across the region continues to increase, we hope that 2021 will see the beginning of a Regional EMDR Association.

Trauma Aid UK always has in its sights the way we can best help the victims of trauma following the years of conflict in the region. The need is huge and we endeavour to make the best use of our resources both financial and professional to help those in need. We know through the past experiences of some HAP projects throughout the world that simply going in and providing basic training is not enough to sustain and develop a thriving and effective EMDR community or well-trained and experienced therapists locally.

To this end, we provide all our trainees access to supervision by volunteer EMDR Consultants and Continuing Professional Development  (see our activities under Continuing Professional Development).

It takes time and continued effort on everyone’s part to make it work. Trauma Aid UK is rightly proud of its achievements to date, given its limitations. All Trustees are practising EMDR professionals who offer their time and expertise pro bono throughout the year.  We are supported financially and professionally by the EMDR Community in the UK particularly through donations from the EMDR Association and EMDR Regional Groups and our membership.