Being fresh new to counseling and psychotherapy concepts of mental health, Cambodia is recently being equipped with effective and evidenced-based practices to restore the well-being of survivors to traumatic experiences in the past and other most at-risk populations who are suffered from psycho-social problems. Recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2004 as an effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), EMDR has also taken its first journey to Cambodia since 2008. In the meantime, a number of Cambodian psychologists fourteen and psychiatrists two were trained in EMDR both in the country and abroad. By the end of 2011, three EMDR practitioners were selected to take another level of EMDR training to become EMDR supervisors. An initiative idea to meeting up all the professional trained Cambodian psychologists and psychiatrists in EMDR to set up an association for the sake of mental health improvement emerged at the same time.
Since mid-2012, the need for the establishment of an association to represent EMDR therapists in Cambodia was clear. The name of the association was officially approved and known as EMDR Cambodia in early 2013. EMDR Cambodia started its own journey with a clear organizational structure and by law under technical and financial supports from EMDR Switzerland, EMDR Germany, and the Mekong Project in Cambodia and EMDR Asia. Mr. BUNNA Phoeun was elected to be President of EMDR Cambodia follow by Mr. PLAKTIN OM who is the Vice President and Ms. Samchit SEREY is the Treasurer. EMDR Cambodia would also like to present our Advisory Boards who are always and tremendously contribute their times and efforts to the development and the continuation of EMDR Cambodia since the first baby step up to now. With the presence of the Advisory Boards we have a great honor to have Ms. Hanna Egli, EMDR Supervisor and Facilitator and President of HAP Switzerland, to be the Chairperson of the Advisory Boards, Ms. Nhong Hema, Psychologist and Vice Dean of Faculty of Social Science and Humanities of the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia to be an Advisory Boards member and Dr. Sombat Tapanya, Clinical Psychologist and a Professor from Chiengmai University, Thailand to be also an Advisory Boards member. With the current term of the association, a new structure was formed after the election. The current President of the association is Mr. Nil EAN, the Vice President is Mr. Plaktin OM and the Treasurer is Ms. Rachny SAUT.
Later in 2017, the core team of the Mekong III project in the Cambodia office and with technical support from the monitoring team, Dr. Ute Sodemann and Dr. Peter Bumke started to form up a trauma treatment center which was known as Psychological Care Center of Cambodia (PCC-Cambodia). PCC-Cambodia has been providing three main mental health supports and services to mostly NGO partners and some government sectors. One of the main activities is providing psychological treatment to clients with trauma-related mental health problems/disorders. Another activity is providing basic and advance mental health workshops and training to lay counselors and mental health professionals and the third main activity is conducting scientific research and study in the field of mental health and psychological trauma particularly in the context of Cambodia.
All of the center staff who are working as therapists have finished at least a master’s degree in clinical psychology and trauma treatment or psychotherapy using EMDR therapy which mainly trained by the Mekong III project. There are about 13 therapists are working in the center. Some of them have been trained in other forms of therapy as well such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Family Therapy, and Art Therapy. About half of the therapists are a senior therapist and accredited as an EMDR Clinical Consultant/Supervisor from Europe.
EMDR Cambodia looks forward to utilizing and contributing its member’s professional skills to improve the mental health situation of Cambodian people particularly those who are survivors from a traumatic experience in the past.