Assistance to the Kumamoto Earthquake

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Dr. Niki Hearty, Hospital, President
Department of Psychiatry, Neurology, Psychosomatic Medicine (200 inpatients)

Apr. 14 9:26pm – Magnitude (M) 6.5 earthquake.  Everybody thought it was the main quake, but it was actually the foreshock. After the foreshock, nobody anticipated there would be another larger quake, but there was.

A day later, 1:25 AM of the 16th, the main quake, M 7.3 occurred.

Many houses and buildings collapsed.  Many people were frightened of having another big quake, so they slept in their cars. They experienced hopelessness after they cleaned up all the mess in their houses and then an even much worse quake came, creating more destruction.

Small and medium quakes are still occurring.  Many children are frightened of going back in their homes even though their houses did not fall.

We considered that the appropriate time of psychological intervention would be a month later. After a month of disaster “honeymoon period”, establishing disaster utopia, then people get released from hypertension or feelings of numbness and get tired or exhausted. By the time, the infrastructures are back, and they can get food and daily necessaries, then they begin to recover.

What we planned was providing Psychological Education about disasters and trauma, but we did not call it trauma. The word trauma sometimes hurts their feelings. It may cause them to feel shame in our culture.

So we used words equivalent to, big stress or anxiety instead.

Dr. Niki introduced Brain Gym PACE because many still live in the car, and some got economy-class syndrome.  He also introduced “Butterfly hug” for EMDR.

He has his staff members to shake hands in the meeting to make sure everybody is not numb. He also introduced his staff members shoulder tapping one another in the circle to feel connected and relaxed, as well as the TFT disaster protocol.

All the seminars were sponsored by UN-WHF, JATFT, JEMDRIA-HAP, Brain Gym Group.

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The calendar and curriculum follow:

“Resilience at workplace and self help”

Day 1:

  • Seminar for National Taxation bureau 50 managers
  • Seminar for industrial doctors and employees 260.

(It provides continuing education for the doctors)

Day 2:

  • National Hospital Organization Kumamoto Medical Center, 550 inpatients – the only major functioning hospital that can accept emergency, ER
  • Medical staff, Clinical Psychologists, social workers, police, fire station etc.(150)

They asked me to come back to give the formal training, and we will offer TFT Partners for Humanitarian Assistance, and TFT Algorithms in the summer.

  • Meeting with DPAT, DMAT, RedCross, TFT, other doctors.
  • Night: Join the HAP
  • Group Protocol

Day 3:

  • Mental Stabilization after disaster – Doctors, Psychologists, teachers, and public. With the Child Psychiatrist Dr. Mikeda
  • How we can deal with children who want to play earthquake drama.
  • First, parents and adults should calm down by tapping.

Day 4:

  • Refugees camp
  • Seminar and individual care for medical staff of Niki Hospital.

An acupuncturist and massage therapist did care for Dr. Niki and other staff members to get them sleep just for 5 minutes deeply and peacefully. We did the same thing in the refugee camp for staff members who were more exhausted than refugees. People then became more open to us and ask if they could have more help for psychological releasing. We had a brief TFT session.

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