Psychological Support for Individuals Experiencing Acute Trauma (Based on Experience Working with Victims of a Terrorist Attack at Crocus City Hall)

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Abstract

The paper presents a description of methods and techniques for providing psychological assistance to people in the acute stage of trauma, using specific cases of psychological counseling of clients in the days following a terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall as an example. The main research objectives were to identify characteristic signs of acute trauma and propose possible ways to provide psychological support for adults, children, and adolescents. The article analyzes domestic and international literature on the psychological consequences of terrorist attacks, considering the main mental disorders and symptoms associated with the trauma of being a witness, as well as methods and techniques for working with individuals who have experienced mental trauma. Five specific cases of people seeking psychological help are described in the article. Based on personal experience, the authors suggest a possible algorithm for dealing with trauma in witnesses and describe some effective techniques: eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), breathing exercises, and imagotherapeutic techniques using a metaphor (“Resource (safe) place”, as well as techniques aimed at muscle relaxation and self-regulation.

General Information

Keywords: psychological assistance, terrorist attack, terrorist threat, symptoms and signs of acute trauma, trauma of a witness, acute stress, methods and techniques of psychological assistance, terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall

Journal rubric: Methods and Techniques

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/cpse.2024130110

Received: 13.04.2024

Accepted:

For citation: Vachkov I., Viryasova E.I., Melenteva O.S., Panfilova M.A. Psychological Support for Individuals Experiencing Acute Trauma (Based on Experience Working with Victims of a Terrorist Attack at Crocus City Hall) [Elektronnyi resurs]. Klinicheskaia i spetsial'naia psikhologiia = Clinical Psychology and Special Education, 2024. Vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 155–175. DOI: 10.17759/cpse.2024130110. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Igor Vachkov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Professor of the Department of General Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7784-7427, e-mail: vachkoviv@mgppu.ru

Elena I. Viryasova, Professor, Penza Regional Medical College, Penza, Russia, e-mail: viryasovaei@gmail.com

Olga S. Melenteva, Educational Psychologist, Supervisor, Director , Society of Fairy Tale Therapists, Moscow, Russia, e-mail: 01olgam@gmail.com

Marina A. Panfilova, PhD in Psychology, Director, Center for Practical Psychology “Attitude”, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1700-3609, e-mail: panfilova-ma@yandex.ru

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