This is an analysis of Counseling Children after Natural Disaster, in which the analysis looks at the summary of the article, including a brief description of a hurricane as the selected current event. It also analyses the influence of hurricane on the field of environmental psychology.
After the occurrence of natural disasters, many children exhibit typical symptoms which can be alleviated when teachers and parents provide emotional assistance and smooth the progress of adaptive coping strategies. On the other hand, other children might experience clinical systems which might need clinical symptoms which need professional counseling, (Baggerly & Exum, 2008).This article provides guidelines to the family therapists in identifying children's typical and clinical symptoms after the occurrence of a natural disaster; it trains the teachers and parents in basic interventions. It provides the implementation in developing appropriate clinical interventions that integrate play. Three-phase approach of cognitive behaviors therapy, a multimodal, play therapy and the family play therapy are all described in the article. The most famous disaster that occurred in 2005 is the Hurricane, which was named the Hurricane Katrina. It has been identified to be the most expensive Hurricane in the history of the United States with more than $81 billion in damage in the deadliest in a period of 77 years with about 1,833 fatalities.
Because of the larger number of children who experience typical symptoms after Hurricanes, family therapists have to maximize their efforts by training teachers and parents to provide supportive responses and interventions that are basic for their children. Teachers become good mediators as they usually play a central role in children's life. Parents are also important during recovery as children take their cues on the ways of disaster responses from parents. If parents become frustrated, also children will feel more scared helpless and the vice versa is true, (Ohen Et al, 2002).
Family therapists have to assist parents and teachers focus on maximizing child's protective issues of good communication, positive coping and self-efficacy skills. in the maximization of good communication skills, parents and teachers should be encouraged to talk to their children about their emotions, concerns and future plans. In maximization of self-efficacy, parents and teachers have to reassure children their symptoms of crying and nightmares are typical and last for short time. Children efficacy can also be enhanced via quick re-establishment of a stable and manageable routine (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2004). During hurricanes, normal rules, responsibilities and expectations come to a stand still both at home and in school. On the other hand parents and teachers could reestablish that structure as it used to be as quickly as possible. For example reading bed-time stories or night prayers recitation, for teachers, it includes classroom routines of reading, homework and projects. They can also encourage children to participate in school and social activities, (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2004).
Counselors might train parents and teachers on how to respond to the disturbing nightmare issues that have occurred due to Hurricane in their children. The children's dream related to distressing Hurricane events might change into generalized nightmares of monsters or of recuing others, (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2004). From middle to late aged childhood, have higher probability of experiencing sleep disturbances as they start to understand the finality of loss. For example teachers and parents have to assist children defuse the strength of dreams and regain the sense of control by assisting them to record dreams in journals. For younger children, parents should encourage them for instance to draw dream and burry them in a ceremonial structure symbolizing the end of the dream power. These activities assist the child to feel in control as they perceive the dreams disappeared, (Baggerly & Exum, 2008).
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Under Systems orientation, if children continue experiencing persistent symptoms that still disrupt them, then more intensive counseling will have to commence. Herman et al (2003) recommended a three phase trauma recovery approach of; safety establishment, retelling trauma story and reconnecting with others. This could be done via; cognitive behaviors therapy, play therapy, and family play therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy decreases the child's symptoms related to Hurricane, other anxiety disorders and depressions. When working with children after Hurricane CBT procedures that incorporate play therapy methods have to be applied to establish safety and manage symptoms. Family therapists have to create environment that is child friendly environment for example providing toys to increase the child's sense of safety, (Baggerly & Exum, 2008). Further more, invite children to play with toys for example family therapists should ask children to play games that prove that they are safe. The therapists have to teach children on methods of intrusive thoughts management, and help them avoid disaster related stimuli. For instance a child may be afraid of taking a bath after hurricane, the counselor has to teach a child to relax and wipe the face with wet cloth.
The families therapists have to assist children retell their trauma story. The best way for retelling the trauma story is through play. Children reenact traumatic events when playing so that they can be courageous and familiar with the frightening images, (Harper et al, 2003). For example, a boy who experienced Hurricane Katrina gave a name Dinosaur to a toy meaning sea monster, and repeatedly knocked down the doll family and furniture and later used the army to kill sea monster. The boy was re-acting his experience in hurricane to gain mastery of scary conditions (Ohen Et al, 2002).
Family play therapy encompasses reconnecting the child with others. Family therapist has to integrate play into family therapy so that parents enter children's world and aid in the development of emotional relatedness. Play technique engage parents and children in an enhanced communication, emotional relatedness and understanding. For example the family may use sand to create a world of their own before and after Hurricane and the future hopes. After which every one gives his/her views (Harper Et al, 2003). In conclusion, the understanding of child's and adolescent's typical and clinical traumatic stress signs after Hurricane helps the family therapists when providing required therapeutically interventions.
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