The APA in Times of Crisis
Trauma and Help Guide
The American Psychotherapy Association is a national association comprised of mental health professionals specially trained to give help. Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Nurse Psychotherapists and Pastoral Counselors are here to guide people through this difficult time.
We are here to help. Call on us.
Here is a guide to help you recognize and handle symptoms of stress and grief.
If you experience any of the following problems, please realize that these are normal reactions to any traumatic incident…
- Feelings of being unsettled
- Inability to focus
- Emotional reactions such as anger or tears
- Fear and insecurity
- Worry about the future
- Sleep disturbances
- Feelings of vulnerability
Many local facilities offer grief and stress therapy. Also, family physicians will help if you are experiencing any problems. If you experience any of the following symptoms please contact your physician or go to your local emergency room…
- Stomach pains
- Heart Palpitations
- Anxiety or stress
- Frequent crying spells
- Severe headache
During crises it is normal to feel unsettled, question your safety and have difficulty focusing on normal work.
When dealing with young children, be sure to…
1. Remember that young children, have a very active fantasy life. They have irrational fears and questions, such as “We need to hide all of our money,” and “Will you be there tomorrow morning?” Children at this age need facts. Do not speculate. Refrain from angry and vengeful outbursts. This may scare them.
- Limit television time of the traumatic events.
- Reassure their safety and provide rational thought.
- Rely on spiritual and religious leaders and guides.
- Encourage children to express themselves and their feelings through art and/or writing.
- Allow children to contribute. Collect pennies, send cards, make a collage, establish projects to help.
- Attend church and community services.
They will attempt to understand the reasons and “whys” of behavior. They will ask for answers. Be sure to…
- Encourage discussion.
- Expect anger, tears and the need to “do something.”
- Remember that groups are especially important at this age. Encourage group talk, school projects, church groups, etc.
- Discourage rebellion and acts of retaliation as young adults have a natural desire to “act-out.”
- Reassure their safety.
- Encourage projects such as collections to help.
- Encourage expression through art and writing.
When a traumatic event occurs you may feel numb, shocked or any number of grief or stress symptoms. Do not hesitate to talk to a specialist. Therapists are trained to help you.
These are a few brief suggestions to help you during this difficult period. The American Psychotherapy Association stands ready to help in any way possible. Please call us at (800) 205-9165 for specific information on therapists in your area.