Love in the Age of Terrorism: New York Psychologist Gives Advice for 9/11 10th Anniversary

Aug 24, 2011, 20:06 ET from Dr. Judy Kuriansky

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center looms, a noted New York psychologist who provided psychological first aide after 9/11, warns about "anniversary reactions" spelling trouble for couples and children.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110824/NY57161-a )

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110824/NY57161-b )

"Symptoms like anxieties, fears and depression, and problems in relationships and work, are triggered on the date of a past emotionally-charged episode that reawakens traumatic memories," explains trauma expert Dr. Judy Kuriansky, who also counseled survivors after Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami and earthquakes in Australia, Haiti and China.  

Couple trouble results from conflicting coping styles. "Avoiders" want to escape being reminded about the event, compared to "Talkers" who want to review every detail and feeling. Kuriansky recalls one woman whose husband threatened divorce because she insisted on watching 9/11 TV coverage and he wanted to put the event out of his mind.

Another opposite reaction is "Come closer" versus "Go away," notes Kuriansky, who teaches about intimacy at Columbia University Teachers College. In a survey, 2/3 of women and men reported wanting more connection with a partner, while some withdrew from love and sex, and even didn't want children.

To avoid couple trouble on 9/11, Kuriansky, a relationship and sex expert who hosted call-in radio shows for 22 years, advises that couples talk about and accept their differences, hug and hold each other for safety and comfort; and plan special pleasure nights for increased intimacy and fun.

Kuriansky further warns singles not to engage in "Terror Sex" – noted after 9/11 – having casual sex when desponding, "There may not be a future, so why not have a great time now?"    

Research also shows that children exposed to trauma can suffer long-lasting symptoms. To help, Kuriansky founded the Global Kids Connect Project, workshops of self-esteem exercises, healing songs and an exchange of dolls decorated by children from Haiti and Japan who survived the recent tsunami and earthquakes.

"The circle of dolls makes children from trauma zones know that other children care about them," says Kuriansky. To help New York children facing intense public awareness of 9/11, the workshop will be given at the Back-to-School event at a major New York City hospital on September 8th.  New York children will receive dolls made by Haiti children, and make dolls to be sent back to Haiti and Japan.  

As research shows the healing power of music, songs in the workshop include the "Towers of Light," an anthem written by Kuriansky and composer Russell Daisey, as a tribute to the heroes of 9/11 with messages of hope (www.towersoflightsong.com).  The song, called "very powerful" by world leaders, will be performed at a NYC 9/11 memorial.  

Available:  interviews with Kuriansky; press coverage of the Back-to School Event and doll exchange, September 8th at St. Luke's Hospital in NYC; "Towers of Light" performances live, video and CD; Video and photos, Global Kids Connect Project in Haiti and Japan. 12 years in China and Japan. See www.DrJudy.com

Contact: Russell, (212) 663-7598 

SOURCE Dr. Judy Kuriansky



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