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California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists Offers Tips on How to Cope With a Traumatic Event

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2007 Southern California wildfires have disrupted the lives of millions of residents. This crisis can have a tremendous impact on a person emotionally and physically, including feelings of being displaced, anxious, and overwhelmed. Many have had to evacuate immediately, leaving behind their homes, pets and personal possessions, wondering if their lives will ever be the same. Aside to evacuees being affected, family and friends, media, volunteers and firefighters are also exposed to this stressful situation. Surviving a traumatic event can have a significant impact to a person's overall emotional well-being.

"None of us are fully emotionally prepared to deal with traumatic events," said Enid Singer, San Diego-based licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. "Several stages of emotions will occur during and after this crisis. It may take months or years for people to fully recover emotionally, physically, and financially."

During this devastating time, it is normal for adults and children to experience fear, sadness, guilt, and anger, as well as loss. Adults need to pay attention to how they are expressing and handling their emotions. Children are often influenced by their parent's reaction, and it is critical for adults to model healthy coping strategies. The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) provides tips on how to cope with loss and grief, and how to restore control during and after this traumatic experience:

-- Recognize your pain. Allow yourself to mourn the losses you have


-- Communicate with your children. Acknowledge their worries and encourage

them to express their feelings, as well as reassure them that they are


-- Minimize your exposure to the media. Watching fire-related news

programs may increase your anxiety and fear.

-- Gain a sense of control. Maintain your routines as much as possible,

keep your social commitments, and stay involved with your community,

church, or school.

-- Take care of your physical health. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise

regularly, and avoid substance abuse.

-- Ask for support. Talk to your family and friends about your situation

or locate a support group for those who have suffered from the


Southern California residents who have been affected by these wildfires are encouraged to seek support to cope with the aftermath. Seeking professional help for assessment and treatment can help individuals and families learn how to cope with the disaster and develop strategies to maintain healthy, normal behavioral patterns. A Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) is trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals with common mental heath conditions, such as anxiety, depression and grief. To learn more about how to cope with traumatic events or to locate a Marriage and Family Therapist, visit


The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), with 27 chapters throughout the state, is an independent professional organization, representing the interests of licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. CAMFT provides as a resource to prospective patients looking for Marriage and Family Therapists located in California. For more information about CAMFT, please call (858) 292-2638 or visit

SOURCE California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists
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