Trauma Team Returns to Haiti
February 10, 2011
by Rachel Judy
Keeping promises goes a long way in forging relationships with the people in Haiti, explains Dr. Benjamin Keyes, professor in the Regent University School of Psychology & Counseling. Keyes, along with Dr. Merrill Reese, assistant professor in the School of Psychology & Counseling, and Lemuel Williams '10 (Psychology & Counseling), traveled to Haiti from Jan. 24-28 to provide training.
Keyes and Reese direct Regent's Center for Trauma Studies. This is the second time the Center has sent a team to Haiti since last year's devastating earthquake. “We had promised to come back and we kept our promise,” Keyes said, remembering their first trip to the region. “Keeping our promise was a big deal, particularly to the church.”
Staying in Pigon, about 85 miles outside of Port-au-Prince, the team conducted training with church pastors and counselors in the area. During one two-day training session, the team worked with the group on a technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is used for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “It should go a long way there for people in the church to deal with PTSD,” said Keyes.
The team also conducted a one-day domestic violence seminar that stressed the importance of balanced, Christ-centered marriage relationships. While the team has incorporated some domestic violence issues in past training, this is the first time they've put it together into an “all-in-one” focus, Keyes explained.
“We found domestic violence is a huge issue where we've been,” he said. “The work of the domestic violence training empowered particularly the women of the church.”
During their stay, the team saw a country that is bouncing back, Keyes said. “People are looking to the future; they're looking ahead.”
The Center for Trauma Studies trains and deploys professional counselors and students with opportunities to assist in meeting people's needs during their moments of deepest distress. In the last year, team members have traveled to Haiti, Romania and Chile.