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Lecturer lends his skills to typhoon effort

Worcester Editorial 8th Jan, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A SENIOR lecturer at the University of Worcester is set to lend his expertise in the wake of the Typhoon Haiyan disaster in the Philippines .

Dr Derek Farrell will travel to the devastated country this week to help train psychiatrists and psychologists in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is used to treat trauma victims.

Dr Farrell, who teaches psychology, is a world leader in EMDR, and has travelled extensively over the last two decades to help during human disasters throughout the world.

“There was initially going to be an Asia conference in Manila anyway, but it’s now taken on a completely different context,” he said. “We focus heavily on Asia as it has a disproportionate amount of natural disasters.

“The level of devastation in the Philippines at the moment is so profound, so we are looking to work in conjunction with the Philippines Psychiatric Association to train between 50 and 100 psychologists.

“I’m going over to Greece at the end of January to deliver some training. Fortunately, there are already trained EMDR professionals there, so we’re planning to train another 30 or 40 psychologists using the existing supervision networks.”

EMDR is used to reduce symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and will help a devastated nation that received about six billion dollars of damage, affecting 11 million people.

Alongside his international work, Dr Farrell has also developed an EMDR Masters course, the first of its kind, to launch at the university later this year.

Dr Tim Jones, head of Psychological Sciences, said: “Derek’s work meets the university’s strategic priority of making a positive contribution to society.

“Derek is an international leader in his field, and the work he is undertaking carries both a social and moral importance.

“His work goes beyond the mental health spectrum and truly gives something back to society, which is why we feel so strongly about it.”

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