Therapists Offer Perspectives On The Trauma Associated With Wildfires And Large Scale Disasters

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Sep 14, 2015, 22:01 ET from California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

SAN DIEGO, Sept. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The wildfires raging throughout California shine a tragic light on the importance of both disaster preparedness and the need for mental health services in the wake of devastation. Many California licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are on-scene, or available post-disaster, providing counseling and perspective on frequently asked media questions related to the trauma associated with large scale disasters.

"After a large scale disaster, one of the critical components affected parties should realize is that they are normal people having normal reactions to a very abnormal event," says Dr. Gary Brown, a Los Angeles-based licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, on-scene and post-disaster mental health expert for three decades, and member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). "The disaster and the aftermath are very traumatic, and people have a diverse range of emotions – sadness, numbness, persistent and intrusive thoughts, anxiety, fear, reliving prior traumas --- these are all normal and can impact the way we think and function."

Dr. Brown also elaborates on the long-term nature of trauma recovery:
"Our reactions to trauma are most acute in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, but most families will recover over an extended time. Long-term mental health recovery depends largely on coping strategies and the available support and resources a family has available to them. It is important that families pay attention to the most susceptible groups affected by disasters and trauma, including younger children, single parents, those who are recently separated or divorced, the elderly and those with any recent experience with other traumas."

While the physical and emotional devastation borne out of a disaster can create feelings of helplessness and isolation, it is important to realize that crisis counseling can help those who are experiencing issues with disaster related stress. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are trained to handle the diverse range of emotions and long-term nature of trauma recovery.  

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About California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
CAMFT is an independent professional organization of 31,000 members representing the interests of marriage and family therapists. It is dedicated to advancing the profession, maintaining high standards of professional ethics, upholding the qualifications for the profession and expanding awareness of the profession.

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SOURCE California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists