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The SAF-T Method for Psychological First Aid to Cope with Stress and Reduce Trauma from War

During times of tragedy and war, people need ongoing support to confront the effects of trauma. Therapy is one critical avenue, and the mental health community has been amazing, but therapists are spread thin, and limited in the number of people they can treat daily. This leaves millions of people without the immediate emotional support to function.

SAF-T is a revolutionary tool that can calm a person's anxiety, panic, or stress in only minutes! The best part is that it can be taught to parents, teachers, nurses, therapists, front-line workers, or anyone that wishes to help quickly calm and soothe the activating feelings of stress and anxiety. It provides immediate psychological first-aid, when it is needed.

When a child awakes in the middle of the night, scared from the sounds of a siren, it is not the time to schedule a therapy session, but to help the child calm and go back to sleep. The more people that can train in the SAF-T technique, it will deliver the calming that adults or children need when they need it, without the use of medication, therapy, or hypnosis. This technique has been used successfully in the United States to treat military veterans, hospital patients and their families, and children encountering crisis and trauma.

For the first time ever, SAF-T is being brought to help communities throughout Israel during these difficult times, to provide a tool that anyone can use at anytime when someone they are with is struggling with panic, anxiety, stress, or trauma.

Frequently Asked Question

SAF-T (Sensation Awareness Focused Technique) is a revolutionary method that accelerates relaxation, soothes the body and mind, and reduces the effects of prolonged trauma by helping a person who is struggling to quickly feel at peace. It is a guided form of helping someone who is activated, to quickly reach a state of calm.

It can be used to help anyone that is struggling emotionally and wants help to return to a state of calm. This can include a child in school that is anxious, an adult who is having a panic attack, someone at the scene of a tragedy, facing the fears of an attack or siren, or a person that cannot fall asleep at night. Especially during times of war, crisis, or trauma, there is no shortage of stress symptoms that people are burdened by, and may wish to unload.

The brain has many defense mechanisms to keep a person safe. During times of danger, these systems are on high alert, leaving a person in a suspended state of hypervigiliance, worry, and stress. When a person can be guided to move their eyes in a specific manner, as we do in the SAF-T technique, it relaxes those defenses, engages the para-sympathetic nervous system, and triggers a relaxation response in the body similar to the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, where your body is at ease. Most people find the eye movements very calming and are able to rid themselves of the negative sensations they are feeling.

Both adults and children can quickly gain the benefit of letting go of stress and anxiety by using this technique. It has studied and been published in The American Journal of Critical Care as an effective mode of quickly calming and soothing people. SAF-T helps individuals alleviate negative sensations, physical discomfort, and pain symptoms. It is effective in reducing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD), Depression, Anxiety and Chronic Pain, and is beneficial for mood stabilization. It can be used by professionals, para-professionals, first responders, teachers, and parents, and others experiencing emotional or physical distress or other negative sensations. 

The training gives participants a very practical toolbox of techniques that they can use in various situations.  These include methods for calming a person using specific eye-movements, and incorporating guided visualizations, and somatic (body) relaxation. Participants will learn how to use the technique and will practice it with a partner during the training, so they leave feeling confident in their ability to immediately use the technique to help others. 

No. This is not a form of therapy, rather, it is a form of calming and soothing of the body and mind. The research on crisis and trauma shows that the quicker one can return to a state of homeostasis and equilibrium during challenging times, the less trauma they will have in the long run.

No, not at all. When using the SAF-T method, the person is completely awake, alert and in full control of the experience. In fact, they guide the direction of the session, and learn to notice where in their body their stresses are being built up. As they move their eyes and relax, they learn to release the stress. Simply put, they are controlling the work, we just help guide them.

Yes. Anyone interested in learning self regulatory skills to help themselves and others better manage life stressors will benefit from this training.  This can be especially helpful for people that are in the helping field and carrying the stress of others, in addition to their own.

There has been a great deal of peer-reviewed clinical research over the years to demonstrate the power and impact of this form of soothing during times of crisis. It has been successfully used for military veterans, hospital populations, and survivors of trauma. Please click here to view a sampling of the scholarly literature.

SAF-T was developed by Laney Rosezweig, the founder of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (A.R.T.), which is a broader method of therapy, where trained therapists use eye-movements and therapeutic training to rapidly heal trauma and many other clinical mental-health issues. A.R.T. has been known to successfully help people resolve trauma in only 1-5 sessions. Dr. Sytner is a Certified A.R.T. therapists with the highest level of training.


If you are interested in being trained in SAF-T or bringing it to your Shul, school or community, please contact us.

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