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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Trying to Understand a Senseless Tragedy

I'm still in Italy, and I just heard the awful news late last night (Rome time) about the mass murder at the school in Newton, CT.  Words are inadequate. I can only imagine the profound grief of the parents who lost children in this senseless act.

No doubt there will be more information, as the police investigate, about the shooter and analysis of his history and possible state of mind.  Even with this information, it's hard to understand, on an emotional level, how and why these tragedies occur.

It's hard enough to understand as an adult, but it's especially hard for children.  If you're a parent of a young child, you want to be especially mindful of the effect of this news on your children, which is not always obvious.  Older children have the mental and verbal skills to express their grief and anxiety, but young children don't.  For them, the signs might be that they're more withdrawn or they're afraid to go to school.

It's important not to minimize or dismiss your children's reactions.  Spend time talking to them in a way that is age appropriate.  Reassure them that you love them and will do everything you can to keep them safe.  It's also very important that your children not be exposed to excessive amounts of broadcast news, especially the kind that is sensational and graphic.  These images have a way of becoming embedded in our psyches, and this is much too overwhelming for children, and it's often too overwhelming for adults.

It's very easy to feel helpless, even as an adult, when faced with this type of tragedy.  Although we can't change what happened, as individuals, we can each take action in our individual communities. For instance, this could include joining community groups who are organizing, once again, to call attention to the problem of gun control.

One can only hope that our leaders will finally muster the will to take action for increased gun control.  What more will it take?

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out my more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

Also see my article:  A Mother Lives in Fear that Her Son Will Become Like Adam Lanza

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