San Diego

Clinical Psychologist Explains How to Cope with Trauma

The mass shooting in Thousand Oaks could be the latest incident adding to feelings of angst and helplessness in the United States.

“I don’t think we’ve gone a month without hearing about a mass shooting,” said clinical psychologist Dr. Shiva Ghaed.

It’s a sad statistic for Dr. Ghaed and anyone keeping track of all the tragedies.

“This is really scary, even for people who have not experienced mass violence,” she said.

Ghaed has experienced mass violence first hand. She was one of the dozens of San Diegans who survived the Las Vegas shootings last year. Dr. Ghaed hosted weekly meetings at a local country bar to help survivors cope with the trauma.

She said she was flooded with messages Thursday morning as word of the latest shooting spread.

“Every time you wake up and you hear news of another mass shooting, it’s very triggering,” she said.

She said it’s also a trigger-mechanism for people who simply watch the news unfold. She said there can be a sense of helplessness from witnessing mass shootings, disasters, or crimes.

“Or any other kind of trauma, the best kind of guidance I can offer is: get help and start talking about it,” she said. “It’s really important to reach out for help immediately. That’s the only way to get through this. There is no shortcut when it comes to recovering from trauma.”

Dr. Ghaed wrote a book about healing from mass violence and trauma. She put in online for people to read it for free.

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