Psychologists And Therapists To Assist Hurricane Survivors

Volunteers wade through a flooded road against wind and rain caused by Hurricane Dorian to rescue families near the Causarina bridge in Freeport on Tuesday. (AP)

Volunteers wade through a flooded road against wind and rain caused by Hurricane Dorian to rescue families near the Causarina bridge in Freeport on Tuesday. (AP)


Tribune Features Writer


A conglomerate of local psychologists and therapists are making plans to launch a crisis management counselling initiative that will provide assistance and support to those now dealing with the trauma of living through the horror of Hurricane Dorian.

The “necessary services”, according to Jenna Christie, a social worker and family therapist, will help to stabilise survivors, give them a sense of control, and restore some level of normalcy and hope to their lives.

Ms Christie, a trained welfare officer at that Department of Social Services, is one among several counsellors and clinical psychologists who have committed to offering their services as soon as the planned initiative is implemented. Once logistical details have been ironed out, the initiative will be launched immediately.

Ms Christie said crisis counselling is as crucial for survivors as having food and water.

“It is of the utmost importance. A lot of persons look at the basic, tangible, physical items that they need, but they also need this,” she said.

“When you are in a traumatic event you are going through the stages of grief and people tend to think it is linear. But it is not. Persons are experiencing anger, distress, grief, even sometimes guilt that they survived and their loved ones didn’t. There is a lot of confusion going on, a lot of anxiety. Many of them are thinking, ‘What is my next move, where do I go?’."

“Everything they knew has been stripped away all at once, so that counselling is extremely important to help persons to build resiliency, and build upon what they already have within them."

Ms Christie said the crisis management initiative will offer a strength-based approach, empowering survivors and giving them control of their lives again.

“Right now a lot of these survivors are experiencing fear. Fear is one of the biggest things right now. Then they are also in denial about what has happened," she said.

“They talk about the looting that is happening, and these are all very fear-based responses to what is happening. We look at it and say, 'Why would people be doing that?' But we are on the outside looking in, and the level of desperation they are experiencing now is triggering these types of behaviours."

According to the American Counselling Association, crisis management should begin about three to five days after a traumatic incident.

“Sessions shouldn’t be too long – no more than an hour or two – because anything longer will become counterproductive, because the person now becomes overwhelmed," said Ms Christie. "However, this also depends on when a person is willing and ready to talk about what they are experiencing."

The proposed location for the initiative is the University of the Bahamas. More details about the crisis management counselling plan will be released in the coming days.


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year ago

There will be few survivors who will want to sit down for an hour or so at this time in a crisis area to have a heart-to-heart chat with a psychologist or therapist. Are these services going to be provided on a gratis basis by suitably qualified volunteers or is the government going to be billed for them?


buddah17 1 year ago

The Doctors and therapist should be paid...


buddah17 1 year ago

BTW: The tramatic effects that is felt after sitting in fear for DAYS while a Cat. 5 hurricane is wipping around you, WILL take more than ".. sitting down for an hour or so at this time to have a heart-to-heart chat.."


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year ago

Wow! You're really looking at this national tragedy of mammoth proportions as a windfall opportunity for your own personal pocket book. You yourself need to have your own head examined.


SP 1 year ago

This is truly wonderful news! Let's start by having these psychologists and therapists chat with Hubert Ingraham, Perry Christie, and Hubert Minnis so they can justify to the nation why they were too weak to get rid of the Mudd, Pea, and other shantytowns before this inevitable scenario happened.


bahamianson 1 year ago

The Doctors and therapist should be paid? Which ones? Are you talking about Doctors from the states on cruise ships, and volunteers from all parts of the world? Do we have to pay a rental fee to America for the equipment they are using to help us also? Get Real!


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