Early Intervention

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Early Intervention for the Treatment and Prevention of Trauma Symptoms

PTSD is part of a complex psychobiological process that can lead to the emergence of distressing symptoms in the weeks, months, or even years after the event(s). Exposure to traumatic stress leads to a wide range of emotional, psychological and somatic distress. Further, it has been established in research that a host of delayed effects of traumatic stress can lead to a cumulative impact on psychological and physical health (including hypertension, obesity and cardio-vascular problems, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, chronic fatigue, and various pain syndromes). The best and clearest research includes the groundbreaking Adverse Childhood Experiences study (Felitti, 1998).

Of course predicting who will develop symptoms is difficult and uncertain. It is known that after the traumatic experience, sensitization or kindling occurs, where patterns of negative information are more easily activated. This sensitization can lead to progressively greater responses over time from repeated exposures. Therefore there is compelling reason to intervene and treat trauma early. Specific EMDR Therapy protocols are now available to stabilize a person or small group immediately after a traumatic event, and to treat the person or small group to prevent the subsequent onset of PTSD.

Acute Stress Syndrome Stabilization (ASSYST)

Dr. Don Russell has been trained in 2018 and 2020 in these procedures from Dr. Nacho Jarero, the research-practitioner who created the procedure and field tested it. This procedure is a specialized application based on an Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) conceptualization of trauma. The procedure has been field-tested and has been adapted for use remotely, i.e. in a video-based format. The objective of these procedures is focused on the client’s nervous system activation regulation (stabilization) through the reduction or removal of the activation produced by the somatic-sensory components of the traumatic memory to achieve optimal levels of nervous system activation.

The ASSYST and ASSYST-R follow the Psychological First Aid (PFA) reduction of distress and adaptive functioning objectives and must be administered within a continuum of care context (stepped progression of health care provided in an increasingly intensified manner) to help the person achieve a state of adaptive functioning or to facilitate access to the next level of care when necessary.


Dr Don Russell has training in this treatment protocol in 2018 and 2020 from Dr. Nacho Jarero. This protocol was developed and has been used extensively in the field by Ignacio Jarero and Lucina Artigas during their work in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and South East Asia. There is good evidence that it reduces symptoms even in the face of ongoing threat or danger. This is highly suggestive that the procedure is also promoting resilience, i.e. beyond simple symptom reduction. Clinical observations during EMDR-PRECI reveal that when the protocol is applied tailored to the patient’s unique needs, there is aDon’t wait rapid reduction of maladaptive symptoms. This protocol specifically suggests the use of the Butterfly Hug for patients with a narrow window of tolerance.

Don’t wait. Contact Dr. Don Russell to see if he can bring relief immediately after a trauma event

%d bloggers like this: