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Managing the After-effects of Disaster Trauma – The Essentials of Early Intervention
The above corresponds with both psychodynamic and cognitive theories approximately 2–3,000 Norwegian tourists who were affected by
about how therapeutic processes take place. In the psychodynamic the disaster. In a survey of all of the 1,500 RGPs who were responsible
approach, the therapeutic effect may be dependent on the patient for victims, Hjemdal
found that the concerns of RGPs about actively
reaching a coherent narrative of his or her experience. In cognitive theory, calling their patients were not confirmed by the positive responses of
re-experiencing helps to correct distorted beliefs about one’s self and what their patients to being contacted. This finding supports the usefulness
occurred, and helps to desensitise the conditioned fear response. of the participation of RGPs in the psychiatric response to disasters.
Intervention by Whom? For the mental health professional, disaster psychiatry is an interesting
In European countries with national health systems, it is possible to use and demanding challenge. Knowledge in psychiatry is essential for
primary care physicians to systematically respond to psychiatric needs the management of the disaster trauma. When it comes to
after a disaster. This is in accordance with WHO’s recommendation.
implementation, however, some interventions may be more effective
For example, following the 2004 tsunami, Norwegian regular when applied by other types of disaster worker. Future challenges
general practitioners (RGPs) were given the main responsibility for include better co-operation between professions within the field of
the psychiatric evaluation, treatment and sometimes referral of the disaster management. ■
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