Once again the American people find themselves coming together in solidarity in saddness instead of in joy. The bombing at the Boston Marathon has brought to the surface the fears and the anxiety felt after Sept. 11th. While many would dare not compare the two, because of the severity of one, the loss of life and security join the two tragedies together. But after such devastation how do we get back to normal when our normal has been shattered?
Dr. Robert Reiner, Executive Director and founder of Behavioral Associates (BA), can frequently be seen and quoted in the news and media and is often called upon to make appearances on major news networks for his expert opinion. He is well known for his work in treating anxiety and phobias. Dr. Reiner will be a guest panelist at Beverly B.’s upcoming symposium “What Would You Do?: When Tragedy Strikes” where will discuss rebuilding after a tragedy.
We asked Dr. Reiner after such dramatic events such as 9/11, Sandy Hook, Hurricane Sandy, and recently the Boston bombings how do we move on? Dr. Reiner did not hold back.
“Keep in mind that the goal of terrorists is to cause as much mass hysteria as possible. Psychologically, it’s smart, because it allows small groups to magnify their message, leveraging the human tendency to over generalize and exaggerate high anxiety generating stimuli. Their motive is to play on the predictable aspect of human nature that exaggerates and distorts mayhem
into meaning something much greater than it is. I do not mean, for one second, to downplay the serious nature of the pain and horror inflicted on Monday. Like the attacks on 9-11 that were inflicted onto “symbols” of American life (WWT, Pentagon, e.g.) the Boston Marathon, an annual rite of Spring in New England, linked as powerfully in the imagination as opening day baseball at Fenway Park, will now be linked with viciousness, bloodshed, and images of panicked athletes and spectators running for their
lives. seemingly burned into our imaginations, certainly in our lifetimes. Will marathon runners now fear crossing finish lines the same way that swimmers dipping into oceans all over the Northeast in the summers dating back to the late 1970s fear sharks, following the release of Jaws? (another example of our tendency to exaggerate and overgeneralize our thinking). If the answers are yes, you are letting the bad guys win! Remember, terrorist rely on the irrational parts of our brains to drive decision making.”
You can hear more from Dr. Reiner at What Would You Do?: When Tragedy Strikes on April 26, 2013 from 7PM-8PM, doors open at 6:30PM. at the Museum of Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave Astoria, New York 11106. For more information contact Simone Baptiste at SBaptiste@BeverlyB.biz.
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