Coping With Psychological Warfare at Home
Learn how to defend yourself from the psychological terror that war brings.
How to Cope continued...
Trauma expert Charles Figley says that people often fall into two camps after experiencing trauma: overreaction or underreaction.
"If we overreact in an emotional way, then we're not thinking very logically and clearly, and we could benefit from thinking it through rationally," says Figley. "If we only go to the rational part and don't think about the humanity and the emotions, then we are also denying sensitivity to that and awareness of how we may be responding, perhaps not now but eventually on an emotional level."
Figley and Haroun say it's worth asking yourself why you might be under- or overreacting to a particular situation because it may be related to something in your subconscious.
"It may be associated with one's own fear of death, you may be still grieving a previous death, or fearful for a relative in military service," says Figley. "Then that's where you put your attention, not where it started but where it led you."
Protecting Children From Psychological Warfare
Experts say both adults and children today are more susceptible to the effects of psychological terror than in years past due to the proliferation of media outlets.
"It's a heightened issue with the amount of bombardment there is with television, radio, and the Internet. It has exponentially increased over the past couple of decades," says psychologist Debra Carr, PsyD, of the Institute for Trauma and Stress at the New York University Child Studies Center. "For adults who are 30 or 40, what they experienced growing up with television is no longer the reality."
Carr says it's hard enough for adults to fathom current international affairs, and it's even more difficult for children to understand the images they see without being able to put them into the proper context.
"My concern is that for any child watching television, there is a potential that they could generalize it to the world at large," says Carr. "If they are not able to understand that the event is far away, they may have difficulty understanding that it's not an immediate threat."