What should psychological intervention be like for earthquake survivors?
Specialized clinical psychologist Elvin Akı Konuk evaluated the right approach for children in disasters such as earthquakes.
Trauma specialists must intervene
Specialized clinical psychologist Elvin Akı Konuk, noting that psychological intervention should be carried out at the right time and with the right content in times of disaster, said: “It is not appropriate to carry out psychological intervention for children without trauma knowledge. This can cause more emotional pain to both the support worker and the child. For this reason, interventions and treatments should be performed by specialists who work with trauma.” warned.
In the first stage, their basic needs must be met.
Specialized clinical psychologist Elvin Akı Konuk stated that the goal for children who experienced the earthquake in the first phase is to meet their most basic vital needs, such as nutrition and shelter, saying: “Children become emotionally ready for recovery and stabilization only after these needs have been met.” have been met. After that, care must be taken to emotionally bond and regulate the child and recreate the sense of security. said.
Secure attachment is important in overcoming trauma.
Specialized clinical psychologist Elvin Akı Konuk, who draws attention to the secure attachment between the child and the caregiver, said: “First of all, the caregivers own coping skills are also very important. If the child is safe, if the routine can be maintained, if there is a secure attachment between the child and the caregiver, the children will be able to overcome this trauma much more easily.” said.
Hugging and holding hands are important for bonding.
Elvin Akı Konuk said that adults should be able to give children confidence with a soft tone that is not sudden or loud, and said: “There is also no loud noise etc. in the environment. Protection against sudden and violent stimuli also helps prevent children from being triggered. Safe tactile contacts such as hugging, pats on the back, holding hands are important for bonding. Likewise, breathing exercises done with the child will help balance their nervous system. Children’s daily life routines should be continued as far as possible, and a regular sleeping and feeding program should be established, as well as the continuity of routines. In addition, it is necessary to ensure that they move by creating spaces for movement and emphasizing that they are verbally safe and that they are next to you.” he said.
The game is a powerful tool
Specialist clinical psychologist Elvin Aki Konuk states that play is an important tool and said, “Game is a very effective and powerful tool for processing trauma. Through play, the child directs them to discover what is happening and to understand events that are difficult to understand. They can be relaxed by repeating their life in the game without interfering with the game they are playing. Such games can be played in kindergarten, school or at home. Spaces should be created for older children where they can practice their hobbies and the necessary materials should be provided. It will be a supportive approach for them to express their feelings and thoughts about the traumatic experience verbally, rather than trying to silence them.” said.
The fact of death must be explained to the child
Specialized clinical psychologist Elvin Akı Konuk, who emphasized that if there is a loss of parents after the earthquake experienced by the children, it should be explained to the child as soon as possible and by the person he trusts the most, saying: ” If the child has no family, this information should be provided by the person who takes responsibility for the child, even if the death itself is traumatic, it should be explained to the real child, emotions should not be hidden while explaining , appropriate and short answers should be given to the questions the child asks, and they should be given the opportunity to express their feelings. Even after a loss, children need safety and order around them. Redevelopment of trust and order can be achieved by the adults who care for the child, by resuming and regularly enforcing the old order.” he said.
Offer both emotional and social support
Specialist clinical psychologist Elvin Akı Konuk said it is important as a society to support children both emotionally and socially, to ensure that children move and socialize as much as possible, and to ensure continuity of support not only during the earthquake but also in the future.
Children are resistant
Specialist clinical psychologist Elvin Akı Konuk noted that children are naturally vulnerable, but they are so resilient: “If the right support is provided, they have the ability to overcome traumatic life events. Because they are born with their ability to heal, it is imperative to help them achieve that ability as adults.” said.