2017 Bern Symposium - Lessons learned from the European Countries



‘Lessons learned from the European Countries’


 with a special keynote of Professor William Yule on children and adolescents


Friday 19th of May 2017          Time: 9.00 – 13.00 hrs         Bern, Switzerland



Standing Committee on Crisis and Disaster Psychology EFPA 


Föderation der Schweizer Psychologinnen und Psychologen
Fédération Suisse des Psychologues
Federazione Svizzera delle Psicologhe e degli Psicologi


 9.00 – 9.15      Opening and Welcome


Prof. Dr. Christoph Steinebach

Member of the EFPA Executive Council

FSP Board Member

Dean of the School of  Applied Psychology and Head of Academic Affairs, Zurich University of Applied Sciences



Magda Rooze MA/MBA

Convenor Standing Committee Crisis and Disaster Psychology EFPA

Senior advisor Arq Psychotrauma Group The Netherlands


 9.15 – 9.30      Ingeborg Porcar Becker


                        Director of the Unit for Trauma, Crisis and Conflits of Barcelona

                        University of Barcelona, Department of Social Psychology                  

                        Representative  of  Spain


                        ‘Psychosocial interventions after small scale incidents with large impact’

A case will be presented: an accident in the mountains were a young girl rom a Boy and Girl Scout group died in presence of her friends at night, after falling down at a cliff. She didn't receive help from the medical services, who couldn't reach her and died in the morning. Psychosocial support was being offered at the whole group of 70 youngster and their families.


 9.30 –  9.45     Carol Gachet MA


                        Director of the Intervention de Crise et Prevention Belmont sur Lausanne
                        Switzerland, Crisis and Disaster Psychologist


                        ‘The Swiss model or how can civilians help? From caregiving to peers, to specialists: how it works’


In Switzerland, the standards for crisis intervention on a macro-level have been thoroughly thought through after  the crash of Swissair 111 in 1998 and the shooting in Zug in 2001.The medical and social costs of the psychologically wounded and of the direct witnesses was evaluated and the SSCM was put into place. It states that each person impacted by a critical incident has the right to  receive professional help. How is this inforced?                            


9.45 – 10.00   Márcio Pereira MA

                        National Institute for Medical Emergency (INEM) Portugal,

                        Representative of the Portuguese Psychological Association


                        ‘Dealing with the unnatural: when a baby dies - crisis intervention with parents in the beginning of the mourning process’

10.00 – 10.15 Ilse Scarpatetti-Lohr, lic.phil.

                         Psychologist, psychotherapist, expert and supervisor at National Psychological First Aid Network Switzerland,

                        Accredited Emergency Psychologist


                        ‘Four steps to restore stability’


The "Crucial C's" will be presented, a  concept based on Adlerian psychology  that identifies four needs and strives in every human being. When disaster strikes, these basic needs and beliefs are shattered - what does it take to restore stability? This concept is easy to memorize and thus comes in very handy in the first responder’s stress of handling and structuring an acute emergency. Furthermore, participants can test its practicality right here to understand the effectiveness of interventions described in the other presentations.


10.15 -  10.45  Discussion


10.45 – 11.15 Coffee Break


11.15 – 11.30 Lucia Formenti MA

                        Representative of EMDR Europe

                        Psychotherapist at the Psychotraumatology Research Center in Milan,  EMDR practitioner


                        ‘Hungarian bus accident in Verona: an example of a cross border intervention in a community disaster’


A case of a cross border intervention will be presented: on January 2017 a bus with Hungarian students crashed on the highway near Verona and caught fire. 16 students died. The Italian psychological team, together with the team of experts coming from Budapest, immediately intervened to offer support to all the victims and first responders.



11.3011.45  Annamária V.Komlósi, PhD

                        Co-President of Disaster Psychology Section of Hungarian  Psychological Association (HPA) Health

                        psychologist, Hon.Professor at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest


                        Júlia Richter, PhD

                        Representative of Disaster Psychology Section of HPA, clinical psychologist, EMDR practitioner


                        ‘Lessons learned from Hungarian bus accident in Italy – from Hungarian point of view’


Four-month process of psychological intervention for victims of Hungarian bus-accident near Verona will be presented. First phase: activities of our well trained Crisis Intervention Team in Italy and in Budapest. Second phase:psychological intervention at the school for students, parents, and teachers and for non-student victims on other places, in the first month. Third phase: screening, and tasks of counselling or clinical psychologist with survivors and relatives.


11.45 – 12.00 Florian Stoeck Msc/MA

                        Crisis and Disaster Psychologist

                        Representative of the Federation of German Psychologists' Associations


                        ‘Sometimes things turn out differently than one thinks - impressions after Münich attack’


The experiences gained through acute interventions after the attack in Münich in some concerned organisations and companies and some unexpected but also less surprising insights made during the activities.


12.00 – 12.30 Professor William Yule PhD, 

                         Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College  London United Kingdom, Representative of the British Psychological Association


                        Farewell speech – after more than 20 years professor Yule will step down  from the Standing Committee, he will give an overview of the developments in the recent past and give us an insight in the future challenges


                        ‘Developments in psycho-social support for children after traumatic events’


During the years I have been a member of the Standing Committee, there have been many developments in psycho-social support for children affected by a wide range of traumatic events. Most important has been the wider recognition that children do develop adverse reactions to traumatic events that can affect their general adjustment and development. More schools now recognise that they must have contingency plans to support children after a disaster – and that without proper help, academic attainment can be affected.


Alongside this, there is evidence for effective individual treatments – most notable trauma focused CBT, EMDR and KidNET. Group interventions have been developed for the aftermath of large scale adverse events – Teaching Recovery Techniques, Writing for Recovery and help for Traumatic Grief (all from the Children and War Foundation), as well as group versions of EMDR. Much more has to be done to develop and refine and evaluate both individual and group methods.


The recent influx to Europe of refugees has posed a big challenge. In particular, how best to meet the psychological needs of unaccompanied minors, most of whom are teenage boys. Guidance for psychologists working with refugees had recently been produced by the British Psychological Society and will be briefly discussed. A particular challenge is posed by young people who return home after participating in wars. They need more than help with only stress reactions. In future, there is a need for both basic and applied studies; longer term follow-up studies; better studies on early intervention. Compared with adults, children’s development does not mark time while professionals wait for inspiration.


                        12.30 – 13.00 Discussion

For some pictures of the event, please click here