This is not another “how to lower your stress” site. It is not about avoiding stress or how to “get over” or “move on” from trauma or grief. It is about livingwith stress, trauma and grief by making connections, creating meaning and seeking growth. Within these pages, you’ll find an invitation to seek balance rather than one-dimensional “fixes.” People like unambiguous solutions, but they really don’t work – spiritually, emotionally or physiologically.
We want so badly to categorize events as good or bad. Yet that’s how we become “stuck” in grief and trauma. However, if we grimly regard an experience as a horror to be buried and forgotten, we’ll never find or make meaning. If we ignore trauma and pretend that life is all unicorns and sunshine, we’ll discover, sooner or later, that our brains, bodies and souls are holding onto the pain.
(Adapted from the introduction to “Horrible Privilege: Stress, Spirit and Science,” by Nick Arnett.)
I’m writing a review of a new Department of Justice report on mass casualty incidents, “Preparing for the Unimaginable,” based on lessons learned from Sandy Hook. It is all too timely, given the Orlando shootings. It is available on the NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) web site – http://www.nami.org/cops. Unfortunately, probably because of NAMI’s focus on families and individuals (none of NAMI’s executives or directors comes from public safety), the report recommendations related to crisis intervention are poor. They repeat CISM myths and recommend Psychological First Aid for law enforcement even though it was not designed for responders or groups.
It was helpful to be taking Jeff Mitchell’s CISM instructor class in the midst of writing the review. He guides instructors to understand how to answer critics with solid information. More to come.
Not a bad CISM overview from a St. Louis television station. Except where the reporter says “who may not be able to handle…” without the important word “alone.” The phrase “normal reactions to abnormal events” comes up… and ideally, in my view should be “natural reactions to abnormal events.”