26 August 2011

Too much too soon

Can the good intentions and passion to help people soon after a traumatic event do more harm than good?

 The terror and tragedy of violence and natural disaster can have a devastating psychological impact on survivors. In response to such events, trauma debriefing has been advocated as a way of supporting survivors.

But can the good intentions and passion to help following a trauma carry with it paradoxical effects?

  • Minor - no symptoms: allow natural recovery, limit to education and/or social support to foster individual coping, no formal intervention
  • Moderate symptoms: foster resilience and individual coping by providing psychological tools; avoid mandatory or intrusive emotional debriefing
  • Severe: formal psychological and medical intervention


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