Helping Children Cope with Crisis Situations

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 21,633
    School psychologist Ted Feinberg discusses how to help children cope with crisis situations.

    Ted Feinberg

    Dr. Feinberg has over 30 years of broad-based human services experience in the mental health field. He has extensive background in consultation and counseling with children, adolescents, adults and families. He has worked in both the public and private sectors. In August 2000, Dr. Feinberg assumed his current position as Assistant Executive Director for Professional Development for the National Association of School Psychologists. His new responsibilities include program development, oversight of advocacy, government and public relations, public policy initiatives, interagency networking as well as professional standards and ethics. Dr. Feinberg has also co-authored two chapters for a Best Practices book on crisis intervention in the schools, book chapters and numerous articles for the NASP Communiqué. Dr. Feinberg was one of the six members of the core workgroup who developed the nationally recognized PREPaRE crisis prevention and intervention training curriculum. Dr. Feinberg has been the Director of Albany Counseling and Crisis Intervention Services and the Senior School Psychologist for the North Colonie Schools near Albany, N.Y. He has been a member of the Graduate School faculties at Russell Sage College, University of New York at Albany, the University of Maryland and George Mason University. Dr. Feinberg completed his doctoral and postdoctoral training at the University of New York at Albany. In October 1995, the New York State Association of School Psychologists selected Dr. Feinberg as Practicioner of the Year. Dr. Feinberg completed his second trip to Panama where he assisted the United States Department of Defense with their reduction in force efforts. He was one of the founding members and Chairman for the NASP National Emergency Assistance team and has volunteered his time to do crisis intervention training and disaster mental health work for the American Red Cross and the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Dr. Feinberg was the team leader for NEAT/NOVA in Spotsylvania, Virginia where three adolescent girls from the community were abducted, molested and murdered. In April 1999, he was invited to Littleton, Colorado after the worst school shooting tragedy in US history to consult with school and community members impacted by the horrific event. Dr. Feinberg was the keynote speaker for the New York State Governors’ Conference on the Prevention of School Violence on March 5, 1999. He was also appointed to then Governor Pataki’s New York State Blue Ribbon Task Force on School Violence.

    How can I prevent future situations?

    Dr. Ted Feinberg: Probably the best thing that I can advise with regards to preventing crisis situations is really to build into a school program, clear recommendations for prevention opportunities, and that includes, having part of the school curriculum address issues of prevention. An example would be one of the things that we have tired for many, many years to do is to help school children understand that if they hear, see, or sense that there is a problem that may be coming up that they need to let a responsible adult know about that. And we have found that in those communities where this has taken place, we have prevented, we have altered the outcomes of situation that could have been terribly tragic had they not been discovered. And so, we want to help reduce or eliminate what we have referred to as the conspiracy of silence among children. Often times, children know about plans for crisis situations well in advanced of adults. And so, we want them to partner with us so that if they hear something at the bus stop, if the hear something in a locker-room, if they know that there is something that is in the planning stage, even if they don t know all of the facts, letting responsible adults, their teacher, their principle, a coach, a good friend know about this can really help to save lives and to prevent these events from taking place in the first place. Clearly we have no capacity to control for things like earthquakes or tornadoes, although maybe with increased scientific work on the part of agencies like the Nova Agency which helps to predict hurricanes that may be we can have some lead time, but as it was the case in Katrina, they knew it was a big, big storm they did not know how much damage it was going to creat. So, with regards to what parents can do to prevent these things from happening, probably not a lot as it relates to natural disasters, but encouraging your children to help responsible others, make sure that not only they are safe, but that their friends, and siblings and teachers are safe as well. That would go a long way towards helping to prevent some of the more tragic violence related issues that have taken place.