Ten years after the September 2011 terrorist attacks, follow-up research shows that much post-trauma therapy is useless and possibly makes things worse.
Mental health professionals flooded [New York City] in a wave of ‘trauma tourism’ after two planes struck the World Trade Center in 2001 according to the report.But the main psychological benefits were felt by the psychologists rather than the patients, said the study, which said experts greatly over-estimated the number of people who wanted treatment.
‘We did a case study in New York and couldn’t really tell if people had been helped by the providers – but the providers felt great about it,’ Patricia Watson, a co-author of the report who works at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress told The New York Times.
‘It makes sense; we know that altruism makes people feel better.’
According to the report, therapy centres were set up in the offices of major employers and in fire stations after 9/11.
But for many survivors, the standard procedure at the time of asking them to talk through their experience was not helpful.
Researchers believe that the process can sometimes push people deeper into depression and worsen anxiety.
Of course, it will take a generation for this new insight to filter through the “helping professions.”