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Canterbury Earthquakes
A collection of resources for helping professionals

From our contacts with practitioners in Canterbury, it appears that Christchurch residents are reacting to the earthquake as we would have expected; that is, they are, generally, taking it in their stride. Some will benefit from temporary support; but most will have no need for therapy -- indeed, as others have cautioned, inappropriate 'therapising' of people who simply need short-term support can do more harm than good.

Having said that, there are some people with a prior vulnerability, for whom the earthquake has been a triggering event for an increase in their anxiety. If you are working with such clients, we have come across some resources that you might find helpful.

Adults & general

The New Zealand Psychological Society has put together a detailed self-help article which is available from their website at: http://www.psychology.org.nz/cms_show_download.php?id=559

New Zealand Doctor Online has posted a short article which, among other advice, contains some useful warnings about inappropriate debriefing and premature diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder: www.nzdoctor.co.nz/media/301326/stress.doc

Massey University's Joint Centre for Disaster Research has a list of resources you can access at: http://disasters.massey.ac.nz/index.htm

Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide (US manual for professional helpers): http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/manuals/psych-first-aid.asp

Alternatives to Debriefing and Modifications to Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Journal abstract): http://content.karger.com/produktedb/produkte.asp?typ=pdf&file=PPS2005074004212

Fear Itself (APA report on an innovative brief CBT intervention for earthquake survivors): http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar06/fear.aspx

A brief behavioural treatment of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder in earthquake survivors (Journal abstract): http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=150747

Acute Treatment of Disaster Survivors (comprehensive MedScape article outlining risk factors for survivors, dangers of inappropriate debriefing, and strategies that have empirical support, including CBT. Contains a substantial list of references for additional study): http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/295003-overview

Children & Adolescents

Promoting Child and Family Resilience to Disasters - journal article (registration, which is free, is required to access the full article): http://www.colorado.edu/journals/cye/18_1/18_1_12_ChildandFamilyResilience.pdf

Children's reactions to critical and traumatic events: Information for parents and teachers is available from the Center for Crisis Psychology at:
http://www.krisepsyk.no/Temasider/Traumer/pdf/Children%27s%20brochure.%20Parents%20and%20teahcers.pdf

Coping with disaster also from the Crisis Psychology Center, is a self-help leaflet for children: http://www.krisepsyk.no/Temasider/barn/pdf/Stallard%20and%20Dyregrov.pdf

Supporting children after the earthquake is available from Relationship Services: http://www.relate.org.nz/OurServices/CounsellingsupportChristchurchearthquake/SupportingChildrenaftertheEarthquake.aspx

Outcome of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Adolescents After Natural Disaster (full Journal article relating to the 2004 Bam, Iran earthquake): http://yangzi-a.org/res/ptsdangels/P020080602317431390496.pdf

Counseling Children After Natural Disasters: Guidance for Family Therapists (full Journal article describing a range of techniques that can be used with children): http://www.education.miami.edu/CRECER/PUBLICATIONS/Haiti_articles/Baggerly08_counseling_children_after_natural_disasters.pdf

See also . . .

Self-help resources you can give to your clients - click here