Somatic experiencing treatment with social service workers following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Soc Work. 2009 Jan;54(1):9-18. doi: 10.1093/sw/54.1.9.


In a disaster, social service workers are often survivors themselves.This study examines whether somatic intervention using a brief (one to two session) stabilization model now called the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM), which uses the skills of Somatic Experiencing (SE), can reduce the postdisaster symptoms of social service workers involved in postdisaster service delivery.The study was implemented with a nonrandom sample of 142 social service workers who were survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, two to three months after the disasters. Ninety-one participants received SE/TRM and were compared with a matched comparison group of 51 participants through the use of propensity score matching. All participants first received group psychoeducation. Results support the benefits of the brief intervention inspired by SE. The treatment group showed statistically significant gains in resiliency indicators and decreases in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Although psychological symptoms increased in both groups at the three to four month follow-up, the treatment group's psychological symptoms were statistically lower than those of the comparison group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cyclonic Storms*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Orleans
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Social Work / education*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy
  • Young Adult