VISTAS Trauma, Grief, Disaster, and Crisis Counseling

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

The Role of Personal Assumptions in Response to Traumatic Incidents

Tammy J. Shaffer


The impact of developing posttraumatic stress disorder can be devastating and long-term. Research has been conducted studying the impact of being a primary victim of a disaster (Duckworth, 1991). Baum, Fleming, and Singer (1983) studied the impact of the technological disaster of Three Mile Island on citizens. Tucker et al. (2000) conducted a study on the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and found that feeling afraid or having been injured as a result of the explosion, as well as having received counseling support, were contributing factors to the presence of PTSD. Breslau et al. (1998) studied the impact of a variety of trauma, including physical assaults, serious automobile collisions, and military combat. They reported that the mean number of critical events experienced per person per lifetime was 4.8, with men experiencing more events (5.3) than women (4.3).

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