ISSN: 1522-4821



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The Use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Post-Disaster Psychotherapy

Ursula Martin

Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012, propelling serious emotional, financial, and practical problems at millions of people. Many of them experienced ongoing feelings of stress and anxiety following the disaster. 22 individuals with anxiety issues post-disaster were treated with Dialectical Behavior Therapy techniques, and compared to control subjects who received no treatment. The Beck Anxiety Inventory was administered to assess anxiety levels pre and posttreatment. Results indicated that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is useful in reducing anxiety levels triggered by natural disaster. This study substantiates earlier studies which demonstrate the effectiveness of DBT, and provides new data on its use with a new sample: post-hurricane survivors. Discovering techniques which can support emotional recovery is useful for individuals, communities, and relief organizations which establish policies and programs. Practical implications of this research include the need for resources to help survivors cope with emotional issues in the wake of disasters. This study yields significant information which can assist survivors of future natural disasters.