David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

Trauma recovery is a major part of what psychotherapists do. There is much made about the traumatic effects of major disasters like the Typhoon in Myanmar, the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq, and the tragic events of 911. There have been many reports about the walking psychologically wounded from these events. There has been considerable effort to training emergency responders in “Psychological First Aid“. Does everyone who was traumatized need therapy? The answer is a resounding “No”. There is research to show that many if not most people adjust to trauma as a matter of course. It’s as if their own built in coping mechanisms are sufficient for recovery. So, unless there are symptoms of “Acute Stress Disorder” treatment is not indicated and could do more harm than good. PsyBlog

“These techniques are in line with the ‘hydraulic theory’ of the emotions – a popularly held view of how the emotions work. In this view, people’s emotions work in the same way as a pressure cooker. Emotions build up inside until the mind can no longer contain the pressure. Then steam is ‘let off’, releasing the pressure inside and improving the mood.

[..]People who choose not to let off steam in this way are popularly seen as being in denial, and this denial is often seen as pathological. Dr Seery’s study extends these criticisms to attack the broader idea that talking about a traumatic event soon after it has occurred is usually beneficial. Mounting evidence suggests that those who do not talk about a traumatic event are simply more resilient, rather than being in a state of pathological denial.”

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