Coping in the Face of Natural Disasters

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Coping in the Face of Natural Disasters

This year’s hurricane season in the United States has be active: Last month, Hurricane Florence emerged from the Atlantic Ocean to unleash havoc on the Southeastern U.S. This week, Hurricane Michael formed quickly in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in Florida before dumping flood-level rains through parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

Left in the wake of hurricanes are damaged homes, damaged property, and—sometimes—damaged lives.

With regard to the latter, sometimes individuals who survive a natural may need to repair their inner lives long after their physical property is rebuilt. In cases such as these, talk therapy may be something to consider. The psychology literature that regards post-disaster impacts notes that individuals may experience everything from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to anxiety, to depression.

Relatedly, from a public point of view, sometimes larger groups of individuals will start to ignore news of natural disasters. This is referred to as the “scope-severity paradox.” It could be summed up with a quote from the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin: “One death is a tragedy. One million deaths are a statistic.” In other words, at a given point individuals will start to think of larger-scale disasters more abstractly, and, therefore, they will notice individual suffering less.

This tends to happen sometime within the context of large-scale natural disasters.

The scope-severity paradox aside, in the wake of a natural disaster, such as in the case of hurricanes Florence and Michael recently, individuals who have been impacted may need to seek out therapy in order to move past the tragedy.

Kenny Luck
Kenny Luck
Kenny Luck is an author and educator from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Marywood University in Scranton, PA, Luck holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and graduated with a Master's Degree in Education from the same institution in 2010. He has written for local publications such as The Weekender. His published work includes: Thumbing Through Thoreau (2010), NEPATIZED (2011), and 101 Facts of Love (2014). Luck has worked in public relations and media, and has taught college-level writing courses at several colleges and universities around Northeastern Pennsylvania. In 2010, he was voted "Best Author" by Electric City readers.

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