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ATLANTA, GA, November 28, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Sage Psychological Consulting is an Atlanta-based psychological practice owned and operated by Dominican-born Psychologist and Clinical Hypnotherapist, Dr. Triphinia Margaret Wallace (Dr. Triphi). Dr. Wallace is now back at work in her Atlanta practice after having spent two weeks on the once-lush, now deeply ravaged Nature Island of the Caribbean.
Memories of Maria are raw. Visceral. The storm is over, but reminders of Maria's wrath are still evident. Piles of logs decapitated from the tropical rain forests lay bare - almost as if they had surrendered in sacrifice to save the people. At least 32 people are confirmed dead; but many are amazed that more were not killed by this monster storm. The green is coming back to the mountains! But the silver glint of twisted galvanize from endless mangled roofs continues to glare defiantly through the remaining trees - stark, unwelcome reminders of the trauma visited upon Dominica and its inhabitants. The memories of what most of the islanders who participated in the recovery sessions dubbed, "The Longest Night," persist.
Dominicans have a love affair with their island. Eden's Gate. A land so lush (pre-Hurricane Maria), and sure to be again, someday - that many have said it is the one island Columbus would still recognize if he returned to these Caribbean shores. Dominica is a tiny, independent nation. It is lodged between the two French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. The Caribbean Sea caresses the island on the leeward side while the Atlantic Ocean crashes against its eastern shores.
The island sustained losses upwards of 200% of its GDP; most of its infrastructure crippled in wake of Hurricane Maria. Hundreds of businesses were destroyed. Even worse, thousands were left without homes, food, and medical attention. Dominicans have a heritage of bequeathing lands and properties to their descendants. Only a few have had the experience of renting properties, being housed in shelters, or being displaced. There have been anecdotal reports of many who survived the storm but who were unable to survive the shock. Several elderly with no prior significant medical histories have reportedly succumbed to cardiac events. Broken hearts. The relative few who were spared structural damage to their homes, harbor an undertone of survivor guilt that they should have been so lucky. It is a mentally disorienting experience few could have fathomed prior to Maria. It will likely take years to fully assess and appreciate the psychological impact of this collectively traumatic experience.
It has been two months since Maria pummeled Dominica. Dr. Wallace notes, although historically a resilient people, many islanders seem, "Shell-shocked - as if still expecting to wake up from a clear and present nightmare that for many seems too big for their imaginations to hold."
Dr. Wallace and Sage Psychological Consulting conducted this first mission trip to Dominica from November 7th to 20th. In coordination with the Ministry of Education, she offered Heal the Healer Confident Coping After Stress and Trauma workshops to help counselors, therapists, teachers, and community leaders process their personal grief - even as they themselves continue their work of supporting others. She facilitated Maria Circles with groups, communities and government employees. These communal therapy and storytelling sessions allowed participants to share their individual and collective Maria stories and to cognitively reframe their thoughts to make positive meaning out of the experience.
Additionally, Dr. Wallace conducted diagnostic evaluations, therapy sessions, and home visits with individuals referred by local school personnel and organizations, like Doctors in Our Circle (DOIC). DOIC was formed the day after Hurricane Maria hit Dominica by a team of Medical Doctors, mostly of Dominican heritage, to provide medical support, supplies, and equipment to strengthen the provision of medical services to the people of Dominica.
Over the course of the trip, Sage Psychological Consulting facilitated at least 110 direct therapeutic contacts.
Some of the primary clinical diagnoses identified during diagnostic evaluations include:
Adjustment Disorder, With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood
Depressive Disorder, Unspecified
Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent, Mild/Moderate & Severe, Without Psychosis
* Some individuals seem to be moving out of the Acute Stress Disorder phase into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Acknowledging the level and intensity of ongoing psychological needs, Sage Psychological Consulting has set the intention to make at least two; potentially three psychological mission trips to Dominica in 2018; the next will be in the spring of 2018.
Sage Psychological Consulting has created a GoFundMe! account at https://www.gofundme.com/zk2h4b-rebuild-dominica-after-maria?pc=em_co_shareflow_m&rcid=r01-150612585258-d8aedf62a6e84818 to help mitigate the costs of travel, boarding, and lodging during the mission trips.
Sage Psychological Consulting is actively seeking for assistance from the international community.
Read more about psychological and hypnotherapy services offered by Sage Psychological Consulting and Dr. Wallace (office & tele-psych or video-conference/online) at PsychologyToday.Com Listing of Therapists
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