Therapeutic services and programs in community after a disaster

In your initial post, address the following:

1.What are the first three things you should do after a disaster strikes regarding social psychological recovery?

2.How would you encourage your neighbors experiencing trauma to use therapeutic services and programs in your community after a disaster?

Evaluate this students’ initial posts.

•Do you agree with their answers? Why or why not?

•What else would you suggest?

•Ask questions and challenge each other.



 1-Michael Bednarz    

After a disaster strikes and I am in the recovery phase after basic life needs are met, the first three things I would do is,

1.Take a Deep Breath- remembering to just breath

2.Find your loved ones or whomever is in your close proximity, (neighbors) and give them a hug- just being thankful for being alive

3.Get your house in order or on the right track, to be in a position to help others.

The actions towards social psychological recovery would be to establish or re-establish the community. Form support groups to assist the various residents within community, and assess the effects of the disaster, based on the individual/s to determine the level of assistance needed for psychological recovery. This can be accomplished either via the town, state, federal, or other groups that have available resources that have been trained to deal with these situations.

To encourage my neighbors experiencing trauma, I would use empathy and introduce them to the various outlets that are made available to deal with the traumatic aftermath of a disaster. If the situation was warranted I would find other residents or myself to accompany my neighbors to support group meetings if available of community members dealing with the same issues. From past experience the best method of trying to help someone psychologically, is to introduce them to someone else that has gone through or is currently experiencing. The best method of recovery is not as an individual, but as a group or community.

2- Michael Secor  

After reading the text and watching the assigned videos, I think any answer should be prefaced with the individual response to a disaster will be remarkably different in each person. As the text says the magnitude and scope of the disaster along with any pre-existing conditions will determine how most people react to a disaster. Age, gender and socioeconomic status will also play a role in ones recovery. Because of all my years in the fire service, and commercial EMS I am hardened emotionally and not much phases me. I was 20 years old and a medic on an ambulance in the city of Buffalo. Shootings, stabbings, beatings, burned bodies, sometimes babies, death almost every other day. 9-11, 3407, massive floods, snow storms, tornadoes, hurricanes. Its quite a resume of death and destruction. I saw a tattoo once that said ” I wish that my mind could forget what my eyes have seen”, how very true. But I have found ways to handle it and cope in my own ways. Sarcasm is one of my favorite tools. I am fluent in it. Sometimes that is good, but my wife is worried someday that it all may come rushing out of me. Others who may not have had such exposures may be more easily affected by the sites of a disaster.

From an educational standpoint, and referencing what we learned this week I like Dr. Rob’s video the best. While I will not regurgitate all 6 steps in his video I like 3 the most. I think these 3 are the best answer to the question posed this week. For social psychological recovery to stand any chance we should 1. focus on the things we can control, 2. maintain daily routines, and 3. deal with the small stuff before it becomes big stuff. We are all creatures of habit. Daily routines rule most our lives. For me its get the kids on the bus, get ready for work, etc. After a disaster those routines will be disrupted. For some this will be a truly traumatic event. If we focus on what we can control with regard to recovery then we can re-establish a feeling of control. We cannot rush the government and its decisions on our applications, but we can begin the process of rebuilding our homes and lives. We can strip out all the wet drywall and furnishings. We can take steps towards returning our lives to “normal”. If we focus on the things we cannot control then we become frustrated and angry. I am not sure about the rest of you, but I do not always make good decisions when I am angry. Second goes back to daily routines. We all strive to maintain them. When interrupted we can feel lost, disorganized. After a disaster we should try to return to as many daily routines as we can. Whether its getting the kids on the bus, or going for a daily run. Whatever it is we do daily that relaxes us we should strive to return to that event. And lastly deal with issues as they arise. Fix them while they are small issues. If the change oil light in my car comes on, I should go take the car for an oil change. Waiting until the service engine light comes on because the engine is ceased because i did not heed the oil warning light has now created a much bigger problem. It would have been so much easier, and cheaper to just change the oil.

How would I encourage my neighbors to seek therapeutic services?

I would stress to my neighbors that talking to someone after a stressful event is helpful. Be it a counselor, a priest, or even just a close friend, talking helps many people. During and after a disaster people see sights that most would normally not be exposed to. Often these sights are traumatic to them. Through the process of just talking about them to someone people will often times be able to come to grips with what they have experienced. Once that happens then healing can begin. Those who choose not to deal with what they saw will keep those feelings, imagines and emotions trapped inside until one day they just erupt. The goal of therapeutic services is to prevent that from occurring

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