Disasters and Community Trauma

The Emotional And Psychological Needs of Survivors and First Responders 

It seems like almost every day we are continually faced with the aftermath of natural or technological disasters, acts of terrorism and other community trauma. It is impossible to turn on the news or browse the Internet without hearing of another earthquake, typhoon, tsunami, plane crash, act of terror, military conflict or other tragic event. Survivors of these events have immediate needs that are physical, emotional and psychological in nature. In addition to survivors, first responders such as clergy, local mental health professionals, firefighters, police officers, lay volunteers, Red Cross or other large scale agency members often experience fatigue, emotional distress and exhaustion. Just like the victims (or survivors as I prefer to call them), these first responders will also need support both during and after the event.
The main purpose of this Residential Institute is to familiarize students with the unique characteristics of natural and technological disasters, acts of terrorism, phases of disasters, the special needs of survivors and first responders as well as appropriate intervention techniques for both these groups. The importance of collaborative efforts among professionals such as clergy, chaplains, mental health professionals and others will be explored. While this Residential Institute is not meant to provide in-depth training or education, it will hopefully encourage students to learn more and to implement the suggestions found in the readings and discussions. Each student will choose a specific example such as a recent natural or technological disaster, or community trauma, to discuss how the interventions in the readings would be beneficial.
Registration Form: To download a registration form, please click here.
Tutor: Dr. Ann-Marie Neale, Karen Horney Professor of Counseling and Psychology
Seminar Titles:
     a.m.: Disasters and Community Trauma- Survivors
     p.m.: Disasters and Community Trauma –First Responders
  • July 20-24, 2015
 Location: Dodge House of the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana 
Daily Agenda:   
  • a.m.  Session  9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • p.m.  Session  1:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.   (No p.m. Friday) 
Credits: NPO or two Units of Study 
Written Requirements:
For each session, morning and afternoon, the student is to prepare and present a 500-1,000 word essay based on the assigned reading for that session. (No paper on Friday). At the end of the Institute, the student will have written between 4,000 and 8,000 words. The final paper is to be a compilation of these eight short papers, including refinements resulting from the Institute experience itself. The final paper must be between 4,500 and 6,000 words and submitted electronically as an email or a Word document within 90 days of completing the Institute.
Required Textbooks: All are available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com
(They may also be available in e-book format and as used editions.)
  •  Brenner, Grant H., Bush, Daniel H., & Moses, J. (Eds). Creating Spiritual and Psychological Resilience: Integrating Care in Disaster Relief Work. (New York: Routledge, 2010)
  • Myers, Diane & Wee, David F. Disaster Mental Health Services. (New York: Routledge, 2005)
  • Roberts, Rabbi Stephen B. & Ashely, Rev, Willard W.C. (Eds). Disaster Spiritual Care: Practical Clergy Responses to Community, Regional, and National Disasters. (Vermont: Skylight Paths, 2008)