Trigger warning. This episode is being released on the 4 year anniversary. It was a tragic and graphic event for the students, teachers, administration, first responders who witnessed the inital scene. Like trauma, the aftermath continues for years for those involved as well as the communities. If you feel like you're going to be triggered, wait until you're more emotionally ready to hear the episode.
Today’s guest, Dr Michele Finneran, Ph.D., is an Author, Psychotherapist, and Mental Health Advocate. Her expertise was called upon by some students from the Parkland shooting who were in needed of coping and dealing with this unforeseen trauma. Survivors of the shooting, teachers and students alike, have struggled with survivor's guilt and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Today’s discussion is about the discoveries Dr. Finneran learned, while helping these victims navigate a new normal; the images, sounds, sights, and horror seen by innocent victims, children really.
I’m sure like me, many of you watched these crazy events unfold on TV. Standing in disbelief at the images unfolding. Perhaps, double checking with your kids to make sure they were ok, no matter what state or city you were in or sending that “I love you” text as you were reminded how quickly life changes.
4 years ago today, February 14th 2018, a 19 year old walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. He opened fire, killing 17 people, and injuring 17 others. The gunman, a former student, fled the scene on foot by blending in with other students, and was arrested without incident about an hour later in nearby Coral Springs.
The Parkland shooting, this killing spree, is the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. The gunman pleaded guilty and apologized. The perpetrators sentence will be determined this month.
Let’s talk about your experience with some of the Parkland school shooting survivors. It’s hard to believe it was 4 years ago today.
For me, living right next to the community and being someone who is treating some members in the community, it really hit on a personal level, and it shook me on a professional level as a therapist. It shook me to the core.
I had to take my own personal training and school myself on the traumatization of something like this happening. Seeing families and students which were impacted in the building, is something I can't even describe. I don't even know how to articulate it. It was something I've never seen before and nothing I've ever experienced before.
What moment shook you to the core?
The day it happened. I was in therapy with a parent of a student in Parkland the day it happened, February 14. I was sitting there having counseling with her and her phone was blowing up in the session. She was looking at her phone and I asked her if everything was, ok? She said, “I don’t know. I don’t think so. There is something happening with my child. I'm not sure what's going on. I’m going to have to leave the session.”
I said, “Go! Take care of your child, your teen.
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