Somatic Experiencing in Hong Kong and China

CHERP 中國地震緩解計劃 - Notes from Beichuan July 25

Rob Blinn - Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:32 am
Post subject: Notes from Beichuan July 25
Today we traveled closer to the epicenter than we have traveled since the start of the project. Beichuan must have been a beautiful place prior to the earthquake. It is located in the mountains and there are tree-lined hills and rushing rivers. As we approached Beichuan we began to see more and more landslides and fewer and fewer buildings that were still standing. In some ways, other than landslides, there is less to see because so many buildings have been destroyed. We saw a lot of rubble. There were tents and temporary housing everywhere (it takes a lot of tents to house the 5 million homeless because of the earthquake.

When we reached the resettlement camp that was our destination, we noticed an elementary school. It was still standing but uninhabitable since the earthquake. The school now consists of a few tents and supplies. There is a need for schools and housing, but there is also a great need for psychological treatment.

The four treatment teams worked with several patients today and both of the patients that I observed today had lost family members. People are hurting here, and it is rewarding to see some of the people we are treating making rapid improvement. Some of the patients have lost so much and it is difficult for them to imagine a positive future.

Today the trainees intervened with patients. They seem to be gaining a good experiential understanding of the principles of Psychological First Aid and Somatic Experiencing.

Tomorrow (July 26) we will be returning to Beichuan.

Today we met three Project Hope psychology students from Wuhan who are in Beichuan full-time. They let us know that they are desperately in need of guidance on how to work with children. During part of the training tomorrow, Ale Duarte, the other team members, and our trainees will be working with groups of children to teach those working with kids games and activities for reducing trauma.

In the last few days, we have seen several patients start to heal, and that has made all of the hard work we have put in worth our efforts.

Thanks to all for your financial and emotional support of the project.

Rob Blinn, Ph.D.
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