Psychosocial Capacity Building in Response to Disasters

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-01-20
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr

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Disaster responders treat more than just the immediate emotional and psychological trauma of victims: they empower individuals and families to heal themselves long into a disaster's aftermath. This requires rebuilding the ability of survivors to meet their emotional and psychological needs, not only for themselves but also for others, and necessitates a careful consideration of survivors' social, economic, and political realities so healing and recovery can outlast the reverberations of disaster. This comprehensive book integrates Western mental health approaches and international models of psychosocial capacity building within a social ecology framework, providing practitioners and volunteers with a blueprint for individual, family, group, and community interventions. Joshua Miller focuses on a range of disasters, both large and small, involving natural, technological, and other complex factors at local, regional, national, and international levels. Case studies from throughout the world explore the social, psychological, economic, political, and cultural issues affecting various reactions to disaster, such as how an individual, family, or community may interpret its meaning, and illustrate the importance of drawing on local cultural practices to promote empowerment and resiliency. Miller encourages developing people's capacity to direct their own recovery, using a social ecology framework to conceptualize disasters and their consequences. He also explains how to identify sources of vulnerability and support individual, family, and community resiliency; adapt and implement traditional disaster mental health interventions in different contexts; use groups and activities to facilitate recovery as part of a larger strategy of psychosocial capacity building; and foster collective grieving and memorializing. Geared toward modern audiences, Miller's text examines the unique dynamics of intergroup conflict and the relationship between psychosocial healing, social justice, and peace and reconciliation. Each chapter ends with a mindfulness exercise and recommendations for practitioner self-care.

Author Biography

Joshua L. Miller is professor of social work at Smith College. A social work practitioner for more than thirty years, he is a member of three disaster response teams and a panelist for managed care companies offering crisis response to companies. Miller has worked with disaster survivors from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami, the Haitian earthquake, China's Wenchuan earthquake, and the armed conflict in northern Uganda. His books include Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions; School Violence and Children in Crisis; and Direct Work with Families.

Table of Contents

List of Boxes, Figures, Tables, and Appendicesp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
The Social Ecology of Disastersp. 1
Responding to Disasters: The Field of Disaster Mental Health and the Role of Helping Professionalsp. 32
Conceptualizing Disastersp. 57
The Phenomenology of Disasters: The Impact on Individuals, Families, and Communitiesp. 85
Sources of Resiliencyp. 113
Vulnerable Populations: Risk, Resiliency, and How to Helpp. 136
Discourses of Disaster Response and Recoveryp. 153
Psychosocial Capacity Buildingp. 190
The Use of Groups and Activitiesp. 220
Responding to Disasters Caused by Intergroup Conflictp. 247
Collective Memorializingp. 283
Disaster Distress and Self-Carep. 300
Conclusionp. 320
Referencesp. 327
Indexp. 349
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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