A survey of 407 psychologists found that 58 percent had been affected by the cumulative effect of their clients' discussions following Sept. 11 and the subsequent events, such as anthrax scares around the country.
The 407 psychologists were volunteers in a PracticeNet survey during the week of Oct. 8. PracticeNet, an online data-gathering system, asks participants about a single episode of care they provided to a client in a randomly specified window of time--a practice snapshot.
Almost a month after Sept. 11, approximately half of these randomly selected clients brought up the terrorist attacks during the selected session. And more than 20 percent of clients mentioned specific trauma or anxiety reactions associated with the events.
Indeed, for nearly 30 percent of clients, symptoms of anxiety, fear and uncertainty about the future had first appeared or worsened since the attacks.
APA Practice Directorate officials point out that since the time is selected at random, there is no control over which client the practitioner was with at the designated time--meaning that practitioners were not just reporting about their most severely affected clients. "An unaffected client or clients who discussed the events in previous sessions but not this one were equally as likely to be selected," says Stefanie Klein, PhD, director of PracticeNet in APA's Practice Directorate.
Because PracticeNet captures a moment in time, the responses to the survey can't be representative of all practitioners' experiences after Sept. 11. But over time, the compilation of data will provide a "more accurate moving picture," she notes.
Further PracticeNet surveys regarding Sept. 11 are under way.
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