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9/11's Psychological Scars Slowly Healing
Date:9/11/2008

7 years later, a 'natural recovery' is taking place, experts say

THURSDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- New Yorkers may be starting to heal psychologically -- as much as it is possible to heal at all -- from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, experts now say.

"There is a thing called natural recovery and, for some people, it happens quickly, and for others, it takes a long time. What's happened over the past seven years is we're seeing more and more people reaching natural recovery," said Katherine L. Muller, director of psychology training and director of the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Muller has also been involved in Project Liberty, created in 2001 to provide crisis counseling to people affected by the Twin Towers attack. The project has recently phased down operations.

"We monitor how many folks come requesting treatments, and those numbers have certainly gone done on a very predictable curve," Muller said. "In 2008, we had very few inquiries directly related to 9/11."

Still, it's impossible to discern what is happening right now, since most studies have only looked at results four to five years after planes crashed into the towers, as well as the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing almost 3,000 people.

"We are anticipating to present preliminary findings on mental health ramifications six to seven years after the attack in a few months, but it takes time to collect this information," said Lorna Thorpe, deputy commissioner for the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. "What we can say for certain is that many, many people who were directly affected by 9/11 -- meaning survivors, first responders, lower Manhattan residents -- had traumatic symptoms. Most of the indirectly affected people have resolved those symptoms pretty quickly and healed."

But rescue workers an
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