The Psychological Aspect of Disaster Preparedness

Minamisanriku, Japan Mayor Jin Satomayor had just given a speech to the town assembly about tsunami preparation when the earthquake struck. Half an hour later, the tsunami that came exceeded any expectations and overwhelmed all preparations. "It was a scene from hell," Mr. Sato, 59, said, his eyes red with tears. "It was beyond anything that we could have imagined." Disasters are often like that. Disaster preparation is difficult because we can never tell the full extent of the damage until it happens. But that doesn’t mean we don’t prepare.

Having decided to be a very positive and optimistic person, I will not join the bandwagon of the prophets of doom who profess that the series of disasters are preliminary events for the end of the world next year. However, because I care deeply for the future of the earth and humanity, I will contribute my voice in the hope that together we will find the necessary answers to today’s most pressing question: how can we prevent or survive catastrophic disasters?

The series of disasters that happened just within this millennium – Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Indonesia and other countries, earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand, Chile and Japan, the flooding in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines, Australia, China, and Brazil – point out two things: disasters happen everywhere and they happen more frequently. Perhaps we can blame human irresponsibility, or climate change, but the truth is all of us have contributed to this in one way or another and all of us are bound to be affected in more ways than one.

Various mitigating factors have been discussed all over the world and there are online references on disaster preparedness, but I would like to assert that aside from building codes, fire prevention, evacuation plans, and other important logistical and organizational preparations, we need to prepare ourselves internally. Risk reduction and psychological readiness is not so popular, yet it can make a difference in both willingness to prepare and in recovery resilience. Depression after a disaster and the post trauma disorder can paralyze a person or a community, and prevent them from cooperating towards their recovery.

Yet studies on resilience point to one thing: the skills and qualities that predict better recovery from trauma can be developed. Resiliency may differ from person-to-person, but emotional recovery skills and tools can be both taught and learned effectively. How to deal with loss of loved ones, loss of properties, loss of a community, and the physical trauma of going through the whole thing are some of the few life skills that can be taught individually or as a group.

Lastly, one thing that can be developed in every individual is a strong adherence to hope. An empowered person never loses hope no matter how dire the circumstances are. Nurturing a sense of hope is one of the best preparations for any disaster.

Author's Bio: 

Cathrine Margit Moller was born and raised in Denmark
She began her career in radio and television, and worked in that capacity until moving to Canada in 1998.
For the past twenty-five years, she has pursued a career in the healing arts at the same time, focusing on alternative health care and healing. By training under some of the leading wellness experts in the world, Cathrine keeps escalating her quest toward personal excellence, so she can offer you the best of the healing arts. This has included studies in Denmark, the U.S., Canada, and England, studying under leading experts in alternative medicine, such as Martin Brofman, Matthew Manning, and healer Geoff Boltwood in England. Additionally, she has studied Silva Mind Control and taken sessions at Chris Griscom's Light Institute in New Mexico as well, as she continually keeps her education as hypnotist up to date.
Her background in hypnotherapy is extensive. In 1999, she was certified Hypnotist by the 'National Guild of Hypnotists' and certified Master Hypnotist at the 'Ontario Hypnosis Centre' in 2000. Her work in hypnosis and hypnotherapy is diverse, and includes clinical use of hypnosis designed to empower her clients in areas ranging from the stresses and problems of their everyday lives, to past life regressions, and Self-Hypnosis training. She has also been certified as a hypnocoach by Dr. Lisa Halpin.
Her expertise also includes Somatic Healing, Reconnective Healing, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), NGH, and Reiki, all of which offer powerful but simple solutions to a range of physical and emotional issues. She also offers NLP, which offers additional access to identifying self-limiting behaviors. These techniques are discussed at more length elsewhere on this site.
Her Personal Mission Statement
Cathrine sees people as incredible beings of infinite potential, whom she can empower and guide toward fulfilling on their goals and their dreams. As an Intuitive, Cathrine knows the Universe and trusts it to steer her in the right direction. Her goal is to help people, and enable them to find their full potential, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Her greatest joy is in seeing a person evolve into all they can become, on every level.
She looks for the miracles in everyday life, and uses them to connect strongly to the forces that enable her to tap into the forces that have shaped a person’s life. As an intuitive, she uses her abilities to uncover the old and unproductive patterns that keep people “stuck,” working with them to purge the unproductive patterns that entrap them.
Cathrine’s own life has had personal challenges that have informed and transformed her, the most significant being when she was diagnosed with apparent MS. Rather than regarding this as a limitation, she has embraced it and used for personal transformation. Working with it in her personal practice, she has not only brought herself back to good health, but has used it to inform and illuminate her life’s path.