2013-04-12 / Top Stories

Sessions To Help Undo Sandy Stress

According to Gina Colelli, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), thousands of people, families, children, elderly, first responders and volunteers have been under enormous stress to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

She states, “Those ‘in the know’ realize and appreciate that the recovery is ongoing and long term. To cope and manage at one’s best requires the capacity to function optimally under extraordinary conditions. To do that people need a mental spa to assist them in being in the best possible mind set to handle all the extra stress that they are under.”

Colelli went on to explain, “There’s where Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy comes into play.

“This was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro (Brooklyn born and raised) in 1989. EMDR has been rated as the treatment of choice for Acute Stress and PTSD by the American Psychological Association, the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. EMDR works in a short period of time and alleviates the symptoms of stress.”

She notes that trouble sleeping, finding oneself short-tempered and irritable, overwhelmed or just feeling lost and unfocused are all normal reactions to a catastrophe and can be treated.

The EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) has been providing stress relief in the Rockaway’s since early November, 2012. They provide up to 5 free sessions with an experienced, licensed mental health counselor.

Colelli is head of the NYC HAP Trauma Recovery Network and developed the team that provided stress relief treatment at St Francis De Sales. She is now providing a new treatment program at Smallwater at 183 Beach 96th St.

She states, “EMDR therapy is best for people who recognize that taking care of themselves is taking care of others. The best thing we can do for others is to help ourselves. It’s a sign of strength to learn how to manage and cope rather than a weakness.

She reports that “recipients of stress relief have reported feeling less anxious, irritable and overwhelmed. For many, sleeping has improved as well as their ability to cope with day to day difficulties.”

The sessions for residents and volunteers will be held at Smallwater on the weekends. For an appointment please call 718-634-3286.

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