Understanding Healing and Post-Traumatic Growth: A 20-Year
Follow-up Study to the Alta View Hostage Siege
Angelea Panos, PhD
On Sept. 20, 1991 a gunman planted bombs around a hospital and, armed with a shotgun, a handgun and lots of ammunition, went inside and took newborn babies, patients, visitors and employees hostage. During the 18-hour siege, a woman went into labor and gave birth. The gunman killed one hostage and intended to kill the others and himself. One of the hostages was able to develop a rapport with the gunman and, through her influence and that of the police negotiator, they talked him into surrendering. He later committed suicide in his prison cell. This incident was portrayed in the 1992 TV movie, Deliver Them From Evil: The Taking of Alta View starring Harry Hamblin and Teri Garr.
This presentation will discuss the results of a 20-year follow-up qualitative and quantitative study with the hostages—especially highlighting the findings regarding what factors assisted in their healing and what types of post-traumatic growth they experienced.
1. Define factors that lead to post-traumatic growth.
2. Discover the context and environment necessary for healing.
3. Identify barriers and challenges to healing and recovery from traumatic events.
Effective interventions that address both childhood grief and trauma
and that are easily implemented in “real world” settings are
needed. The Grief and Trauma Intervention (GTI) for Children has
been tested with children experiencing post-traumatic stress due to
witnessing or being a direct victim of violence (often multiple types of
violence), death of a loved one (including homicide) and disasters
(specifically Hurricane Katrina). Results indicate significant
improvements in symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression and
traumatic grief in children who participated in GTI. This presentation
will provide an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of GTI, a
review of skill building excercises and methods to help children process
both grief and trauma, and a brief review of the evidence to date on the
effectivenss of GTI.
1. Describe the theoretical underpinnings of GTI.
2. List three skill building exercises to help children experiencing traumatic grief.
3. Discuss the GTI method for helping children express both grief and trauma.
When in grief we respond to loss, brokenness and sorrow, we
don’t merely return to ego functioning in daily life, complete
tasks, or overcome separation anxiety. In the heart of grief, we
actively engage with the resonance of love and sorrow in our souls and
spirits, the depths of our being. We relearn the world through
labors of love as we learn to carry the sorrow of missing our loved one,
reach past heartache to hopeful possibility and meaningful living,
return home to the familiar, stretch into the inevitably new, learn ways
of loving in separation, and engage with mystery. When we counsel
the bereaved, we serve as midwives to these labors of love.
1. Describe how there is more to love than attachment and more to
sorrow than separation anxiety, how both are matters of soul and
2. Describe the diverse labors of love required in grieving understood as relearning the world.
3. Reconceive the role of grief counselor as midwife to loving in separation.
One NDE researcher once observed, “It would be quite helpful if we each personally had an NDE, but after an extensive study of NDEs, I don’t recommend that. The 'near' part of an NDE is too tricky! Most people who come that near to death do not give us an interesting report of what happened afterwards; they get buried!" For 25 years, Dr. Schenk has helped many clients utilize hypnosis to experience pseudo-NDEs during a “waking dream” – without any cardiovascular distress. These often include some of the wonderful emotional/ethereal experiences associated with true NDEs. Such experiences may help terminal clients ease their fears about what is to come. This presentation is designed to introduce you to waking dreams as a resource in your work with terminal clients and their loved ones.
1. Demonstrate how to facilitate a waking dream for a client.
2. Explore strategies for working with the end-of-life component of a waking dream.
3. Illustrate the NDE equivalents that occur in waking dreams and their potential benefit to clients.
Description and learning objectives forthcoming.
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