Psychological Services

Interventions in the Recovery and Reconstruction Phase

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Interventions in the Recovery and Reconstruction Phase

This phase is prolonged and may last even years. Because many delayed symptoms and illnesses become manifest in this phase, it is essential to maintain some level of psychological service provision for a long time.
Consultation and education at all hierarchical levels of the community and of recovery agencies should be maintained from previous phases. Consultation needs to be provided on the process of handing over management to the local community. While self-reliance and empowerment are encouraged,
premature withdrawal of aid and services is discouraged.
Information is provided to the communities, strained relationships and bureaucracies about the real and significant hardships, challenges and costs of this phase, as well as the continued ripples from earlier phases. The latter may manifest in continued and even amplified and multidimensional stress responses and in jelled, frozen, delayed and intermittently manifest responses. Local doctors, marriage counsellors, welfare agencies should be alerted to likely increased workload stemming with different degrees of obviousness from the disaster experience.
Previously identified vulnerable groups should be followed up. Those who were especially shocked (dissociated) during the disaster and who were overimmersed in (re)living the disaster also need follow up, as such groups have been found to be vulnerable to developing future traumatic stress syndromes.

While capacities for self-recovery and independence are acknowledged and facilitated, appreciation must also exist for continued strain, fluctuating tendencies to be disillusionment, dependency, irritability, blaming, competition and division (along both old and new lines). Facilitating networks, bridging communication and advocacy may facilitate more sensitive solving of needs and speedy dignified and equitable insurance and compensation payments.

Conflict resolution may resolve enmity between competing groups for the benefit of the whole community.
Community vulnerability from commercial exploitation can be countered by issuing warnings and encouraging protective laws.
Absorption of the disaster into community history and culture may be facilitated through mourning and memorial rituals, commemorations of the dead and the heroes, but also of all survivors and celebration of the community’s achievements. Regeneration ceremonies, creative and aesthetic remembering (plays, books, paintings, sculptures) and consolidation of communal wisdom should be facilitated.

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