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Addendum B
Addendum B: Information Everyone should Know… How to Stabilize Yourself and Family during the Emergency

Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Printable Page

Often clients facing natural disaster trauma go through reactions that are either agitated or shut down at the moment of the trauma. The following guidelines are important for people as a preparation for what to do during a trauma to take care of themselves and their family. As you look through the guidelines, think if you have clients, like Tom, age 45, whose home was destroyed in an earthquake, that could have used this guideline when they were facing their natural disaster.
Initially, I encourage clients to ask themselves the following self-evaluation questions…
- Is this situation threatening? How much of a threat is there?
- Is the treat coming from inside or outside of me?
- What is my reaction level (encourage them to use a 7 point scale)?
- Is what I am feeling fear or anger or is it more panic, hysteria, or rage?
- What is my body telling me now?
- Does it feel like time is slowing down?
- What are the ways that others are acting and reacting? Can they see something I don’t? Can I ask them?
- Is there evidence I can find to confirm how I am feeling and reacting?

When a client has self-evaluated that they are agitated by answering the preceding questions, they can use the following self-care actions. The tools are listed and in parenthesis are specific actions your client can take to implement the tool:
- Focus (focus on the present by ignoring imagination and memories)
- Self-talk/ Other talk (use a calm and soothing voice to talk to yourself and others)
- Imagery/ Expectations (envision a safe place and positive outcomes and actions)
- Breath (use a soothing four-count breathing)
- Relaxation (change your scenery and sit down)
- Direction (find support and assistance and find something useful to do)
- Activity (calm yourself by taking a walk, stretch, or another calming ritual)

Clients can ask themselves the following questions to self-evaluate if they are shutting down or fading out:
- Are things slipping out of control or beyond my understanding?
- Am I starting to believe or feel things just don’t seem to matter?
- What is my reaction level (encourage your client to use a seven-point scale)?
- Am I still aware of my body?
- Are others around me more agitated than I am?
- Is time moving too fast?
- Are people talking loudly or getting in my face?
- What are others seeing that I am not?

When a client has self-evaluated that they are shutting-down by answering the preceding questions, they can use the following self-care actions. The tools are listed and in parenthesis are specific actions your client can take to implement the tool:
- Focus (focus on the present by ignoring imagination and memories)
- Self-talk/ Other talk (use a calm and soothing voice to talk to yourself and others)
- Imagery/ Expectations (envision positive outcomes and actions)
- Breath (begin breathing quickly)
- Arousal (get up and move)
- Direction (find support and assistance and find something useful to do)
- Activity (get active by taking a brisk walk, exercise, or another strengthening ritual)


Answer Booklet for this course
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