Healing Collective Trauma

What can you do when you carry scars not on your body, but within your soul? And what happens when those spiritual wounds exist not just in you, but in everyone in your family, community, and even beyond?
We’ve compiled some online resources that can be of help. This blog post is well overdue.
Remember you are not alone. Remember that you are seen. That you are loved. That your struggles are valid. And that the future still belongs to all of us. ⁠

Managing traumatic stress
Ways to manage
A comprehensive guide on PTSD
Trauma resources
Resources on the ground
Comprehensive list of therapists offering free and affordable counseling
Self-guided resources

Managing traumatic stress

Survivors in the immediate vicinity of an explosion may be struggling with physical injury and experiencing a range of strong thoughts and feelings. When such tragedies occur, people struggle to make sense of the destruction, loss, and emotional distress. We know from the survivors of past tragedies that people are resilient, and, as difficult as it may seem at the time, survivors can and do go on to live fulfilling lives. The information and recommendations in this resource can help survivors take preliminary steps to emotional recovery.

People who have experienced or witnessed a disaster may have an acute stress reaction that can cause some of these thoughts and behaviors:

  • Recurring thoughts of the incident
  • Greater sensitivity to changes in your environment or being easily startled
  • Increased desire to stay home or be away from people
  • No longer maintaining daily routines and activities
  • Feelings of guilt, such as “Why did I survive? I should have done something more.”
  • Feelings of grief and loss.
  • Reluctance to express feelings for fear of losing control over emotions.
  • Emotional reactions, such as tears or anger.
  • Physical reactions, such as restlessness, aches or pains.

Ways to manage

Recognize emotional change. Identify the feelings that you may be experiencing. Understand that they are likely normal reactions to the tragic situation. You will regain a sense of self and feel more grounded with time.

Take a breath. Count to 10 before acting on issues and when feeling stressed. Ask yourself if this action is the best for you and your family. This will help you think clearly, control impulses, and become more resilient.

Keep connected. Social support is a key factor in helping people to successfully survive the tragedy. It is okay to reach out to ask others for support or just to spend time with you. Maintaining social networks and activities can provide a sense of normalcy, and offer valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress.

Maintain a daily routine. To the extent possible, keep a daily routine. Having a structure to your day can provide you with a sense of stability even when the world around you seems chaotic. Sticking with a routine can be a source of comfort.

Find positive ways to reduce stress and negative feelings. Following a tragic event, you may feel the need to turn away from negative thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. Positive distractions such as listening to music, reading a book, exercising, or watching a movie can help renew you so you can refocus on meeting challenges in your life. Avoid numbing your unpleasant feelings with alcohol or drugs.

Recognize strengths. Recall the ways you have successfully handled past hardships, such as the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a serious illness. Draw on these skills to meet current challenges. Trust yourself to solve problems and make appropriate decisions.

Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic and positive outlook can enable you to see the good things in your life and can keep you going even in the hardest times. There are positive things in everyone’s life, such as strong relationships, a comfortable home, and communication or activities that bring enjoyment. Taking the time to identify and appreciate the positive will enhance your outlook and help you persevere.

Source: Managing traumatic stress: Recovering from explosions

A comprehensive guide on PTSD: 

A guide to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Trauma resources:

Disaster Mental Health * Trauma Information Pages
How to cope with traumatic news – an illustrated guide
Peter Levine on Trauma Healing: A Somatic Approach

Resources on the ground

Psychologists in training – Support Group

To help people cope with the trauma, a group of senior psychology students from the Lebanese American University (LAU) and the American University of Beirut (AUB) are coming to the rescue.
They have teamed up to create a platform on Instagram called Beirut Explosion Emotions.
The account bridges the gap between people who are in urgent need of therapy and licensed psychologists who are ready to offer their help, free of charge.
They are even offering help to parents to help their children cope with the stress and overcome this difficult event. They are also advising how to cope with the Survivor’s guilt, which is not to disregard.

Comprehensive list of therapists offering free and affordable counseling


Self-guided resources

Grounding Practice: https://youtu.be/NQleDB-ASrA
Trauma Releasing Exercises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26zoFKZzbQc
How to Tap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAclBdj20ZU
10-minute session to release stress and trauma: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CDjjLFPJJyN/?igshid=x9f8fl1a3y9k
Wellbeing for Lebanon: https://www.recipesforwellbeing.org/wellbeing-for-lebanon/
Coping Strategies for Traumatic stress: Self Care And Self-Help Following Disasters – National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Los Angeles County, California
PTSD Coach – provides various tools to support identifying and working on struggles in response to traumatic events. Available for free on iPhone and Android.
Self Help for PTSD