Beirut: Help Us Train Local Mental Health Professionals in Treating Victims of Traumatic Stress

The Pitch
In light of the explosions in Beirut in 2020, we wish to teach our Lebanese colleagues a novel, evidence-based therapy developed at McGill by world-renowned trauma specialist Professor Alain Brunet, which will help put psychologically traumatized patients back on their feet in just six weeks.

The Highlights
With your help, we will be able to:

  1. Teach evidence-based Reconsolidation Therapy to the first of 5 cohorts of 20 Lebanese therapists, for a total of 100 therapists.
  2. Help the therapists alleviate the suffering of thousands of Lebanese in the wake of their trauma.
  3. Further evaluate the usefulness of implementing specialized training in trauma-struck regions of the world.

The Pitch
On August 4th, 2020, two massive explosions occurred in Beirut's port, killing 190, injuring 6,500, and causing nearly $20 billion in damages. The humanitarian needs initially revolved around medical care, food, and shelter. As time passes, however, there is an increasing need for psychological care.

There is a lack of therapists trained to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Lebanon. If we provide PTSD training to dozens of Lebanese colleagues, we can give them the tools to rapidly and effectively treat thousands of traumatized patients locally over the next year and decrease human suffering. We recently held a pilot online training session with several Lebanese therapists who are now using the therapy to treat community members. We want to extend this training in order to help even more Lebanese heal. The cost of training and supervising one therapist for one year is $1,500.

Reconsolidation Therapy is an evidence-based treatment developed at McGill to treat traumatic stress. This therapy has been taught and implemented with success in Paris after the Bataclan attacks (2015), in Nice after the truck attack (2016), and with the victims of hurricane Irma (2017), to name a few. Research suggests that it is more efficient than other treatments, which means more people can be successfully treated. Our Reconsolidation Therapy training is accredited by Québec's Board of Psychologists (OPQ) and by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) for CE credits.

This project was developed by psychiatrist Sami Richa (Saint Joseph University, Beirut) and psychologist Alain Brunet (McGill University, Montreal), who will work on this project pro bono, as well as McGill Master’s student Lara Kojok.

Meet the Project Team: 
Pr. Alain Brunet
  • I am a Scientist-practitioner working at McGill U. & Douglas Institute
  • I will supervise the training curriculum and Lara’s MSc project (see her Bio!)
Pr. Sami Richa
  • I am Professor of Psychiatry at St-Joseph University; Chief of service at Hotel-Dieu de France (Beirut), & President of the Lebanese Society of Psychiatry
  • As a Beiruti, I will ensure the success of the project locally.

 

 

 

Normand Smith
  • After 40 years working in communications, most of it at the service of Canadian diplomacy, I'm lending my expertise to causes I believe in.
  • I will be disseminating Reconsolidation Therapy's effectiveness across social and traditional media outlets.

 

 

 

Lara Kojok
  • MSc Candidate in Psychiatry at McGill University
  • I want to help my country get back on its feet, and will be conducting the research component of the project and under the guidance of Pr. Brunet for my Master’s project.