EmotionAid® for Medical Professionals

Serving on the Frontlines of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Medical Professionals


Medical professionals are on the front lines in confronting the Covid-19 pandemic. This has taken a huge toll on their mental health and has led to increasing rates of burnout. The International Trauma Healing Institute – Israel (ITI-Israel) in partnership with Metiv Israel Psychotrauma Center and Rabin Medical Center, propose a field intervention and research study based on EmotionAid® . Publication of the method’s success in reducing physical and mental stress and preventing burnout for frontline responders will help health authorities in Israel and around the world ensure the continued functioning of the medical system and well-being of staff during times of pandemic and crisis.

The need

Similar to soldiers in battle, for many medical staff, the sustained, high-stress environment of a Covid-19 ward leads to anxiety, depression or even full break-down. Leading researchers have warned of long term damage to medical professionals and their diminished ability to provide quality care without psychological intervention (British Psychological Society Covid19 Staff Wellbeing Group, 2020; Greenberg, Docherty, Gnanapragasam, & Wessely, 2020).
Based on this need, confirmed by the current literature (see Lai, Ma, Wang, et al., 2020; Holmes, O’Connor, Perry, et al., 2020) and the call of 24 world-leading experts to develop innovative intervention models, we propose an intervention model based on EmotionAid® for medical professionals that can be applied during the crisis itself.

Goals and Objectives

Our goal at this stage is to create a proof of concept, whereby EmotionAid® intervention will be evaluated to show whether it can significantly assist medical professionals with their mental health during an ongoing crisis. Specific outcomes we are looking for include:

WHAT IS EmotionAid®

EmotionAid® is a toolkit of five simple steps for self-regulation and emotional first aid.

Based on cutting-edge tools from Somatic Experiencing® and the latest developments in brain research, EmotionAid® shows patients how to both handle and prevent anxiety, burnout, stress and trauma.

Just as we can strengthen our physical muscles with exercise, we can strengthen our nervous system (our emotional muscle) and restore its resilience by practicing healthy responses to threat and trauma.

Specially designed for the public at large and professionals who work in situations of stress, EmotionAid® can be used on the spot, anywhere and anytime.


The EmotionAid® intervention, provides medical professionals with first-aid tool for enhancing emotional self- regulation. These tools can be applied by anyone, anytime, and anywhere and help its practitioners lower stress levels and develop long term resiliency.

As of this writing, ITI and Metiv are in the midst of an EmotionAid® feasibility study with a few dozen medical professionals. Results are still pending, but this early stage study will allow ITI and Metiv staff to gather early feedback, finesse intervention techniques, and prepare for the second stage study.

108 doctors and nurses from Rabin Medical center will participate in the second stage study. Half of them will receive instructions based on EmotionAid® methodology, and the other half in the control group will receive counseling based on other mental health standards of care currently available.

ITI and Metiv staff will begin the intervention with a psycho-educational group session, which will take place either virtually or in person. Participants will be introduced to the program, the research, theory and practice of the EmotionAid intervention which they will be part of.

Each doctor or nurse will hold six meetings, taking place over a week and a half, with a ITI/Metiv mental health professional. Each session will last between 15 and 20 minutes in length. The sessions are designed to work around the intense schedule of the medical staff and will be held online.


During the sessions the mental health counselor will take the nurse/doctor through a number of techniques that help to release tensions and stress. Based on the latest brain research, methods include touch (tapping techniques), body awareness, grounding, orienting, accessing resources and more. The doctors and nurses will practice these techniques during and in between sessions.

ITI and Metiv staff will convene the group once again in order to process and discuss the meaning of the work, define common group resources, and to conduct evaluation.

Indicators and Evaluation

Researchers will survey the emotional state of participating medical staff in the stages; before the intervention, in the immediate aftermath of the intervention, and a month after the intervention. ITI and Metiv will use the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), a validated psychological instrument consisting of 22 parameters to measure occupational burnout. The Body Perception Questionnaire (BPQ) is a self-report measure of body awareness and autonomic reactivity developed by Dr. Stephen Porges. Metiv and ITI will use this questionnaire to measure physical and emotional regulation, along with feelings of guilt and shame on the one hand and feelings of self-esteem and meaning on the other hand.


EmotionAid for Medical Professionals brings together three partners:


The International Trauma Healing Institute – Israel (ITI Israel) is a nonprofit educational & research organization managed by Dr. Cathy Lawi since 2009 . ITI provides emotional first aid (EmotionAid) training to hospitals, municipalities, schools, social services, first responder organizations, mental health professionals, regional councils and resiliency centers, as well as to the Israeli Ministries of Health, Defense and Education personnel. ITI is the sole educational arm of Somatic Experiencing® in the Middle East.


Dr. Danny Brom founded the Metiv Israel Psychotrauma Center in 1989 in order to promote healthy coping and post-traumatic growth within Israeli society and throughout the world. Today, Metiv promotes healthy coping and post-traumatic growth within Israeli society through innovative evidence based interventions, training and research.


Rabin Medical Center (RMC), comprised of both Beilinson and Hasharon Hospitals, is one of the most prominent and largest medical facilities in Israel.

In addition to first-rate medical care, RMC’s centers, institutes and departments are renowned for their scientific research, technological development and medical achievements.

Affiliated with Tel-Aviv University Sackler School of Medicine, RMC collaborates with some of the largest and most esteemed medical centers world-wide.



Project Directors
Clinical Director and Supervisor
Senior Researcher
Coordinator and Quality Assurance
Research Assistant
Hospital Liaison
Logistical assistance
Data Manager
Project Costs
Training for project facilitators
Project facilitators for group and individual Intervention
Intervention for control group*
Production of instructional video EmotionAid 5 Steps Techniques
Ethics Committee Submission
* Rabin Medical Center will cover the cost of the intervention for the control group