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Planning for the Future - Means and Ends (From Vicitms of Terrorism, P 173-190, 1982, Frank M Ochberg and David A Soskis, eds. - See NCJ-85900)

NCJ Number
F M Ochberg; D A Soskis
Date Published
18 pages
The concepts of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention developed by Gerald Caplan are used to discuss measures needed to prevent and deal with terrorism.
Primary prevention reduces the incidence of disorder in a community; secondary prevention, the duration of a significant number of the disorders that occur; and tertiary prevention, the impairment that may result from these disorders. Primary prevention should initially focus on those whose geographical or occupational situation puts them at high risk for becoming hostages. Former hostages should have a major role in planning and implementing primary prevention programs which relate to minimizing disorders related to the hostage incident. Family members of potential hostages and the general public should also be informed. Secondary prevention efforts should focus on resolving the situation as quickly as possible with a minimum of loss of life. Only techniques which have demonstrably worked in the past should be used. Former hostages should be used in the planning process. Victims' families should also receive major therapeutic and preventive efforts. Officially sponsored helping services and clinicians outside the system should both be helpful. Planning for tertiary prevention services must be based on accurate and objective knowledge about the victim's premorbid condition and current level of functioning. Helping efforts should concentrate on internal psychological resolution of the incident. Measures for the immediate care of ex-hostages should include, if possible, a time spent in group debriefing and in anticipation of adjustment problems at work and at home. Individual exploration in a therapeutic setting may also be useful for diagnostic purposes. Clinicians dealing with former hostages may encounter such phenomena as the Stockholm syndrome and difficulties resulting from celebrity status. The goal of psychotherapy should be to enrich the life that follows a traumatic event by exploring the life that preceded it. Eighteen reference notes are included.