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  article of the month
November 2001
We are keeping these two articles up for a second month. We hope our visitors will find some help or comfort in them.

Introductory Letter: COPING WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL AFFECTS OF TERRORISM
By Dorothea MacArthur, Ph.D.

Click here for EXISTENTIALISM AND SEPTEMBER 11th

Dear Visitor:

Welcome to our website.

In this time of international crisis because of the terrorist attacks on the United States it is psychologically normal, natural, and appropriate to feel:

  • confused
  • shocked
  • unfocused
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritable and impatient
  • helpless
  • longing to do something to help others in need
  • guilty about surviving while others didnāt or survivor guilt
  • unable to sleep
It is helpful for you to slowly integrate this experience psychologically by:
  • talking with others
  • drawing your family close together
  • spending time alone in nature
  • appreciating your life
  • helping others
  • reaching out to friends
  • volunteering
  • donating
  • creating a memorial garden with plants that will last a long time
Children need:
  • to ask questions
  • to be given honest answers
  • to have television, internet, and aggressive computer games supervised and limited
  • to be listened to and taken seriously
  • to be reassured that the adults in their world are acting constructively to
  • keep them safe
  • to be told what we are doing to keep children safe
  • to keep to a normal consistent family schedule
In the Workplace it is natural for:
  • productivity to be down
  • workers to feel tired and forgetful
  • business to be slow for a time
  • tempers to flair
  • workers to be especially sensitive about loud noises, tall buildings, large crowds, travel, and any information that includes hidden agendas, negative gossip, or secret information
Remember that any crisis can become either a danger or an opportunity. Every crisis presents the opportunity to become stronger. It is a chance to do something that you might have been too lazy or had the courage to do before. This is a time for each individual, country, and the international community to grow in strength, creativity, wisdom and constructive action in place of mere aggressive retaliation. Let this event drag you towards rather than away from the best version of yourself.

May those of you who have been hit directly by this event in terms of loss of relative, spouse, parents, friends, colleague, job, or financial assets know that deep within you is the ability to get back up on your feet and to go on. Do not be afraid to reach out for professional help if you feel the need. Talking with a mental health professional or Red Cross Volunteer can dramatically help you to recover fully psychologically, especially if you have been directly and personally traumatized by any of the terrorist events. Ask for Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing. This is a short term, one session focused therapeutic support that I and many other psychologists have have been trained to do by the Red Cross. This intervention can significantly ameliorate PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) I do not charge for this service.

May those of you who have been hit directly by this tragedy in terms of loss of relative, spouse, parents, job, or financial assets know that deep within you is the ability to get back up on your feet and to go on. Do not be afraid to reach out for professional help if you feel the need. Talking with a mental health professional or Red Cross Volunteer can dramatically help you to recover fully psychologically, especially if you have been directly and personally traumatized by any of the terrorist event.

Above all, take good care of yourself.

Dorothea McArthur, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and President of IPN

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