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A disaster that I am familiar with are the California wild wires that cause death, destruction to property, livestock, and air pollution among others impacting several individuals, families, and communities all over the state. These fires take place every year and yet the amount of trauma they cause are new and fresh each time. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season ever recorded in California, with a total of 8,527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres the largest area of burned acreage recorded in a fire season (, 2020). And although I have not been a direct victim of these fires, I have witnessed the panic that it causes throughout the cities and state when they occur.

When responding to a crisis, trauma or disaster, the crisis response worker can effect positive change by focusing on the individual’s strengths and helping them to rebuild themselves up. Facets of existential psychology are great in this area as well as positive psychology. According to Aantoos (2019), existential psychotherapy uses a positive approach that applauds human capacities and aspirations while simultaneously acknowledging human limitations. By doing this the individual can be empowered to continue striving and not give up because of the crisis they have experienced. On a familial and community level, the crisis work can encourage unity and collectiveness as well as social support. Reminding the victims that there is strength in numbers and that they are better off rebuilding as a community or family rather than alone would go a long way. This can be done by setting an example and volunteering to help in the search of missing persons or in putting out fires or in providing basic resources such as water. Because humans are social creatures, when they see several people doing something, they are bound to start imitating that group and this is one of the ways social change occurs (Walden University, 2014).


Aanstoos, C. M. (2019). Humanistic psychology. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. Retrieved from

Cal Fire. 2020. Community wildfire prevention and mitigation report. Retrieved from

Walden University (2014). 2014 Social change impact report. Retrieved from…

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