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America Under Attack: Psychological Healing

Aired September 13, 2001 - 04:24   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN ANCHOR: The attacks have left many people psychologically scarred and many others in need of grief counseling. For more on this aspect of this tragedy we're joined from London by grief counselor Colin Grange.

Mr. Grange, thank you very much joining us. This is an unprecedented attack, a new form of terrorism. Is this a challenge for you as you try to counsel the victims?

COLIN GRANGE, CERIDIAN GRIEF COUNSELING: Oh, indeed. One of the major problems of course is just the sheer enormity of what happened and how it happened on TV. And at several layers the first airplane into the twin tower, the second, and then of course the towers themselves collapsing. So we're trying to -- sorry?

VASSILEVA: Yes, go ahead.

GRANGE: We're trying to provide support to the employees of the major investment banks, airlines who are suffering over here in London because they have lost colleagues. And of course, they're very familiar with the buildings and so on. And they really need help overcoming feelings of disbelief, deep sadness, shock, and of course anger which is covering up many other emotions of hurt.

VASSILEVA: So how do you help them? What do you tell them?

GRANGE: Well we provide a telephone support service 24-hours a day to all of the employees of our clients organizations, and we help them talk through their feelings, either over the phone. We're also providing professionals on sites in these organizations so that if anybody wants to come along and talk about their feelings we can help them.

We're really trying to help our organizations go through really quite a fine line of trying to keep things as normal as possible which can help people keep structure to their lives over here working in London. But also to acknowledge the deep distress and sadness that there is around the employees.

VASSILEVA: What about those who have not lost a loved one. Those who were just in New York. They witnessed it but they were not directly impacted by it. How do they deal with the sense of vulnerability that they will feel for a long time. and just the horror of what happened. And what has forever scarred their city. GRANGE: Well it will take a long time for many people who witnessed the event. Again, a strong sense of disbelief is around simply because it was almost like watching a movie. The only time you see that level of destruction is when there you're looking at a motion picture where it's all special effects. So the disbelief I believe would still be strong in a lot of people. And it will take some time to come to terms with all of the fear and distress and sadness that's been experienced.

Obviously we, Ceridian, provide services worldwide. And that includes providing services to some of the victims and the people immediately involved in New York as well as the services we provide over here in London.

VASSILEVA: You say you help people come to terms, but can people really come to terms with what happened in New York?

GRANGE: Yes. It's obviously going to be a very significant event in their lives and it will never be forgotten. But we have learned over the last 10 or 15 years of how we can support people experiencing these kinds of traumatic experiences. We can help them talk through the feelings that they have, what they may be experiencing such as sleeplessness, a high level of anxiety, being very jumpy, reliving the experience by having images of what happened.

And we have developed ways of managing these incidents right from the beginning providing pro active help to people relatively soon after the event, two, three days. Right through to providing post traumatic counseling for people who have symptoms that don't start to recover after a few weeks.

VASSILEVA: Are there symptoms that come about later as you say people are now in shock, in disbelief?

GRANGE: Well that can happen of course. I mean many people who are physically injured probably won't experience the full psychological impact until their physical injuries have recovered to some extent. And again, many people may not experience the full trauma until later on. Some people can seem to go on as normal for several weeks and then they might start experiencing psychological problems.

Again, everybody's different, and it will depend on how they react. Again, some other people may not have been directly involved in the instance, but they may have had previous traumatic experiences reawakened especially as what has happened was so visible. They were watching it on the news as it happened and that may well force and cause them to re-experience previous traumas in their lives.

VASSILEVA: Mr. Grange, thank you very much. Jon.

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