Many people affected by Hurricane Sandy lost their beloved ones and found it hard to cope with the disaster. The victims lost most of their belongings and houses. A human services professional should, therefore, be on the frontline to analyze the situation and provide adequate support that can promote recovery and re-patterning of lives (Bloomquist, Wood, Friedmeyer-Trainor, & Kim, 2015). This discussion uses the concept of “new normal” to explain how the major stages of loss can be used to support the affected individuals.
Applying the Stages of Loss to the “New Normal”
The “New Normal” Concept
The loss of a family member or a beloved person is one of the hardest things that can happen to a human being (James & Gilliland, 2017). This situation is even worse after losing several members of the family. This is exactly what happened after the infamous Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Humanitarian service providers and counselors should support the clients as they come into terms with the new normal. James and Gilliland (2017) argue clearly that this new normal is something that will differ significantly from one person to another. Throughout the process, it is necessary to understand the emotions, trauma, and pain encountered by the targeted clients. It is necessary for human services professionals to embrace the use of the stages of loss in order to offer a smooth transition to the new normal.
Applying the Stages of Loss
The first stage, after learning about the loss of a loved person, is isolation and denial (Bloomquist et al., 2015). The victims of the disaster should be identified and supported in order to come into terms with the event or situation. The counselor should ensure the clients have adequate time and support. The second stage is known as anger. This step occurs when the individual accepts reality. During this stage, professionals should provide the right guidance and encourage them to interact with other members of the family. Continuous support is needed to create the best environment for healing.
The third stage is bargaining. During the phase, the individual will be guilty of not doing the best to protect the disaster or death. It is during this stage that the professional should focus on the cultural attributes, personal rhythms, and emotions of the client. The professional can propose the power of meditation or prayers during this stage. By so doing, the process of healing will begin. The fourth stage is usually known as depression. During this stage, the professional would observe that the individual will become unhappy, sad, and helpless (Hayden, Williams, Canto, & Finklea, 2015). The depression might be prolonged, depending on the emotional strength of the individual. The human service professional can go a step further to show concern, support the entire family, and provide adequate therapy.
The fifth stage is acceptance (James & Gilliland, 2017). Since the disaster was sudden and unbearable, the agreeable fact is that the process of acceptance might not be sudden. The social worker has a role in implementing a powerful therapy or counseling process, depending on the nature of grief or depression exhibited by the client. The provision of comfort and continuous use of meditation strategies will work positively during this stage. The professional can go further to use re-patterning strategies such as group therapy (Hayden et al., 2015). The individuals can be encouraged to get support from others, engage in exercises, and eat healthy food materials. The provision of shelter and food materials throughout the stages of grief is appropriate for clients who have been left homeless.
Bloomquist, K., Wood, L., Friedmeyer-Trainor, K., & Kim, H. (2015). Self-care and professional quality of life: Predictive factors among MSW practitioners. Advances in Social Work, 16(2), 292-311. Web.
Hayden, S., Williams, D., Canto, A., & Finklea, T. (2015). Shelter from the storm: Addressing vicarious traumatization through wellness-based clinical supervision. The Professional Counselor, 5(4), 529-542. Web.
James, K., & Gilliland, E. (2017). Crisis intervention strategies (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.