Coping with Catastrophe: A Handbook of Post-Disaster Psychosocial Aftercare

Coping with Catastrophe: A Handbook of Post-Disaster Psychosocial Aftercare

Coping with Catastrophe: A Handbook of Post-Disaster Psychosocial Aftercare

Coping with Catastrophe: A Handbook of Post-Disaster Psychosocial Aftercare

Synopsis

Coping with Catastrophe is a practical handbook for people who provide psychosocial aftercare for victims of disasters. This completely revised and updated second edition includes the latest findings on the nature and effects of trauma, the psychological debriefing process and the effects of emergency work, and the latest treatment models for post-traumatic stress and abnormal grief. Eminently practical and easy to read, this volume provides readers with information and skills to respond effectively and confidently to the needs of disaster survivors. It will be of immense value to a wide variety of helping professionals and carers, including social workers, psychologists, doctors, voluntary counsellors, and all those whose work brings them into contact with disaster victims.

Excerpt

This book is a practical guide to disaster management for the helping professional. Its aims are to provide the reader with information and skills to respond effectively and confidently to the needs of disaster survivors. The chapters are intended to be read in sequence, but each stands in its own right, and readers may choose to read some in less depth than others. It begins with an examination of the experiences of survival and bereavement by disaster. Knowledge of these feelings, thoughts and behaviours provides the helper with the map of the territory about to be explored. It continues with a review of the present state of knowledge about the effects of manmade disaster. It then discusses the way services for the survivors of disaster need to be organised if they are to be effective, and the initial processes of working with those affected. Other methods of intervention are discussed: consulting to traumatised groups, psychological debriefing and specific psychological treatments for post-traumatic stress reactions and pathological grief. Lastly the experiences and needs of the second group of potential disaster victims, the rescuers and helpers, are explored.

Coping with catastrophe requires courage and humility as well as knowledge and skill. Readers may conclude that these are the qualities any helper should have. They are. Our hope is that this book will help them mobilise these resources in tragic and catastrophic times.

Peter E. Hodgkinson and Michael Stewart

March 1990

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