Dear Dr. Archer,
I don't want to be long-winded, but I just viewed a FOX News telecast where you broke down the phases after difficult events, (e.g., excitement ends, struggles begin).
I just wanted to say from my military experience that you were totally accurate. The randomness of who it affects is intriguing. The Department of Defense and most psychology communities are just beginning to understand this.
Much progress has been made, even in the past ten years, on the potential psychological fragility of the human mind when confronted with extreme helplessness and life-threatening events. As the Chilean miners struggle to become reacquainted with their lives above the ground, they need to experience as much tranquility as possible.
The whole world was watching and cheering as these men were rescued one by one. As much as we want to continue the celebration and keep our eyes on these men as they adjust to being above the ground, eventually the fanfare will fade and they will be faced with their routine lives again….and for some that is often the danger zone when PTSD strikes.
Some men claim that they are through with the mines, while others plan to continue the work. For both sets of individuals though, my advice is that they need a period of rest and normality because of their emotional roller coaster experience. They all need to give themselves time to process their harrowing experience.
I will say from my experience in working with survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, that it is indeed fascinating as to who is affected psychologically as a victim and who is able to go on as if nothing has occurred (psychological survivor) after a severe catastrophe. Much work in the field remains to be done. Thanks for your email.