provision of information and clarification are key components which relieve distress. For instance, it can provide great relief to have clarified that what people are experiencing is typical of normal people who experienced an abnormal event and thus their responses are not pathological and people are not crazy • Assimilating the trauma requires full understanding of the nature of the traumatic events, the biological, psychological and social survival responses to them, judgements, meanings and beliefs which arose from them and ripples emanating from them to current times. Each response and its ramifications are made sense of in terms of the original context and
38 its ripples and is contrasted with current less turbulent and hopeful contexts and the nature of appropriate responses to them. Correct understandings of both the disaster circumstances and of the present are merged cognitively and emotionally in a chronological story with new meanings which incorporate both past and present. The wisdom which includes past experience facilitates adaptive responses to the present and the future. It must be seen that: •
Disaster intervention is a sophisticated process of many sensitive components, which can help greatly if properly applied, but if improperly applied, can do harm. • This may be most evident in simplistic applications of packaged interventions to affected populations, especially when they are still in traumatised, distressed or disorganised states.