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.

Brooke Lamberti

Brooke Lamberti is a content writer based out of Scranton, Pennsylvania. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Marywood University, and has prior career experience working in social work and domestic violence advocacy. She has a passion for writing and helping others.

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