Environmental and traumatic social problems and helping

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For this discussion, you will learn more about the helping process, and the helper’s role in crisis intervention. You may want to refer back to Chapter 7’s section regarding Crisis Intervention and Chapter 8’s section regarding International Focus.

You will read about and discuss helping in the aftermath of a natural disaster or a mass trauma. Natural disasters may include hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and forest fires. Mass traumas may include terrorist attacks, school shootings, or wars. Both types of events take place in the environment but require professional, individual, and community responses.

The helping relationship in such situations is qualitatively different than in conventional counseling situations because client needs are different. Traditional counseling typically takes place in a clinic or counselor’s office and focuses on the diagnosis and a treatment plan, using psychotherapeutic techniques to improve the individual’s ability to function and adapt. In contrast, disaster mental health responses take place in the community or client’s home, focus on solving immediate problems of survival, confirm the client’s emotional response, and make use of psychoeducational techniques to improve individual and community functioning.

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