On January 17, 1989, a gunman opened fire on the Cleveland Elementary School playground in Stockton, California, killing five children and wounding 30. Many of the students were children of Cambodian immigrants, and crisis workers soon discovered that established crisis intervention strategies did not fit well with the patriarchal structure of the Southeast Asian families. For example, it was not a cultural norm to talk openly about trauma and associated emotions. As a result, crisis workers adapted their crisis intervention approach by consulting with a Cambodian social worker and community leaders who were familiar with the culture.
Before responding to disasters, crises, and traumas, crisis workers must first consider the cultures of the impacted populations. Then, crisis workers must use such information to choose crisis intervention strategies and approaches that are culturally appropriate.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Think about areas of cultural diversity that might impact the applicability and effectiveness of crisis interventions.
- Consider cross-cultural issues related to working with survivors of disasters.
- Identify a disaster, crisis, or trauma with which you are familiar and think about the population(s) affected by the event.
Note: Do not use Hurricane Katrina as an example (the assignment in Week 6 focuses on Hurricane Katrina).
- Reflect on how aspects of the survivors’ culture might impact the effectiveness of the help offered and the willingness of survivors to accept the help.
- Think about cultural competencies you might use to respond to the survivors of the disaster, crisis, or trauma you identified.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post a description of a specific disaster, crisis, or trauma with which you are familiar (do not use Hurricane Katrina as your example). In your example, be sure to include brief descriptions of the affected population(s). Then, describe at least three cultural considerations you might take into account as a crisis worker responding to the disaster, crisis, or trauma, and explain why. Be specific. Be sure to protect the identity of any real persons used in the example, including yourself. This is not intended as a venue for self-disclosure of very personal issues. No identifying information should be used.
American Psychological Association. (2014). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct – Including 2010 amendments. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
Dass-Brailsford, P. (2008). After the storm: Recognition, recovery, and reconstruction. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(1), 24–30.
Ehrenreich, J. H. (2002). A guide for humanitarian, health care, and human rights workers: Caring for others, caring for yourself. Retrieved from http://www.dochas.ie/Shared/Files/4/Caring_for_Oth…
James, R. K., & Gilliland, B. E. (2017). Crisis intervention strategies (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
- Chapter 2, “Culturally Effective Helping” (pp. 27-47)
- Chapter 13, “Crises in Schools” (pp. 429-480)
Newman, E., Risch, E., & Kassam-Adams, N. (2006). Ethical issues in trauma-related research: A review. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 1(3), 29–46.
Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2007). Ethical considerations in crisis and humanitarian interventions. Ethics & Behavior, 17(2), 187–202.