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Therapy After Terror: 9/11, Psychotherapists, and Mental Health / Edition 1

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Overview

Therapy After Terror examines the 2001 World Trade Center attack from the perspectives of New York City mental health professionals who treated the psychologically wounded following the attack. Therapists discuss the attack's effects on their patients, its personal and professional consequences for them, and the ways it challenged fundamental aspects of clinical theory and practice. The book describes crisis mental health services that were established after the attack, as well as longer-term treatments. It also examines notions of trauma, diagnostic procedures, and the politics of psychological treatment. Karen M. Seeley is a social worker and psychotherapist who teaches in the Anthropology Department at Columbia University. Utilizing her unique interdisciplinary background she provides a detailed study of the post-9/11 mental health crisis, including depictions of the restricted "hot spots" such as the Lexington Avenue Armory, Family Assistance Centers, and Respite Centers at Ground Zero, where mental health workers delivered aid.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A licensed, clinical social worker, Seeley (anthropology, Columbia Univ.) offers a riveting, comprehensive examination of the work and experiences of psychotherapists following 9/11. [...] At the heart of the book is Seeley's discussion of "trauma contagion", a phenomenon she distinguishes from vicarious trauma. [...] Integrating health treatment, theory, and ethics, this is a valuable resource for policymakers as well as students and practitioners. Highly recommended..."
—A.N. Douglas, Mount Holyoke College, CHOICE, Vol. 46 No. 03

"...Seeley dissects the events of 9/11 and subsequent developments and provides an articulate accounting of our successes and failures in the psychological response...This unprecedented volume will be a benefit to all mental health providers and transcends issues related to specific mental health professions (i.e., psychology, psychiatry, and social work). Therapy After Terror should be required reading for anyone considering trauma work, individuals who are in positions to make mental health policy, and those who have volunteered their services to groups who maintain preparedness to respond to national emergencies and disasters."
—Carrie H. Kennedy, PsycCRITIQUES (February 18, 2009, Vol. 54, Release 7, Article 5)

"Therapy After Terror is a well-written, well-documented, insightful review of what happened to mental health practitioners in New York City immediately following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and its continuing effects on their patients, themselves, and their profession..."
—JAMA, Osalind D. Cartwright, PhD (Emeritus), Rush University Medical Center

"...Those who regularly treat people experiencing trauma, this book will expand ongoing debates in the field with the extraordinary backdrop of 9/11 view. For those who don't treat trauma survivors but who tempted to help with the next disaster, this book will cause them to consider whether they have relevant training to be helpful as a therapist in a disaster."
—Psychiatric Services, Dr. Adams, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Maryland

"...This volume provides an excellent overview of how psychotherapists in New York City dealt with the trauma of 9/11 through their attempts to help the patients who sought help for their emotional trauma... it raises important and intriguing issues concerning the medicalization and privatization of a massive collective trauma."
—Hoyle Leigh, MD, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

"The author's use of interviews, historical material, and superb critical analysis makes this book a must-read for anyone interested in studying the effects of a traumatic events on large-scale populations."
—Irene Javors, Yeshiva University, Journal of Anthropological Research

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521884228
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen M. Seeley's interests lie at the intersection of psychology and anthropology. She is a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University, where she teaches courses on culture and mental health, trauma, disaster, and psychological anthropology, and she teaches cultural psychology in the Psychology Department at Barnard College. She is also a psychotherapist with a private practice in New York City. She has a Master's in education from Harvard University, a Master's in social work from New York University, and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in cultural psychology. Dr Seeley's interdisciplinary training informs her approach to mental health. She has brought anthropological perspectives on culture, society, and power to bear on clinical practice, and has critically investigated western theories of mental health, the culture of psychological clinics, and the dynamics of intercultural psychological treatments. She also has developed new modes of ethnographic inquiry that foreground cultural material in intercultural clinical encounters. Dr Seeley writes, lectures, and consults on culture and mental health. She is the author of Cultural Psychotherapy: Working with Culture in the Clinical Encounter. In addition, she has published articles in a number of journals, including Social Work, the Psychoanalytic Review, and Psychotherapy and Politics International.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Trauma Histories 10

2 Volunteers for America 39

3 "Get Me Counselors!" 61

4 The Psychological Treatment of Trauma 80

5 The Trauma of Psychological Treatment 101

6 Diagnosing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 125

7 Trauma as Metaphor 147

8 Mental Health in Traumatic Times 168

Notes 197

Works Cited 213

Index 233

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