World Trade Center Disaster Victims Crisis Counseling
keeping you focused and dealing with grief and mourning

 I extend my sympathy, prayers and assistance to all people suffering from the aftermath of the events of September 11.

Human beings can have emotional reactions to any demanding and stressful event, especially an event such as the attack upon and destruction of the World Trade Center. It is often difficult to take care of yourself in the middle of such a crisis especially if your attention is focused upon the basic needs of safety, work, food, clothing and shelter. To help minimize stress and assist people in managing and recovering from stress related to the recent traumatic events that they have experienced, I offer over-the-phone counseling assistance.

counseling experience 

You can help yourself cope with reactions though self-care. Self-care can enhance your emotional stamina and help you begin to return your life to some semblance of normalcy.


Examples of Self-care

  • Stay away from mood-altering substances.
  • Get plenty of rest if you can.
  • Eat well-balanced meals
  • Practice stress reduction techniques:
    • deep breathing
    • meditation
    • progressive relaxation
  • Be aware of "survivor guilt."
  • Give yourself permission to feel bad
  • Schedule it in your day.
  • Let yourself cry.
  • Give yourself permission to feel good.
  • Make small decisions daily to get control of your life back.
  • Put off major life decisions, if possible.
  • Give yourself permission to focus on someone outside yourself.
  • Remind yourself that your reactions are normal
  • Engage in practices that are meaningful to you, such as:
    • prayer
    • services
    • walk in woods
    • sitting quietly
    • reading inspirational material
    • journal writing



Coaching in person, via phone and via email.

Remarks from 'satisfied customers'.

"When I got sick, ANKE guided me through the labyrinth of confusion and always insisted on my taking my 'two cups of joy a day.' despite everything." She never stopped believing in me."

"ANKE knows how to cut through the basics issues. She taught me how to stay focused on my strong points and how to improve my weaker points in the process. I can continue now!

"I first needed to see what I was really doing before I could change my condition. ANKE helped me to see this in her own subtle way. She hits the nail on the head. She is able to see the big picture and keep things in perspective."

'Contentment is not a state to arrive at but a manner of traveling' 
(Samuel Johnson)

Helping Children Cope with Trauma

Children and youth, as well as adults, will have feelings about the attacks at the World Trade Center for a long time. Our feeling create our experience. It may be tempting to try to put these feelings out of our minds or think that kids won't be affected, but young people need to be able to openly express their feelings of shock, fear, anger, denial, guilt, or depression. How we help children deal with grief and loss determines how they will develop coping skills as they mature. 

here are some things worth remembering :


For more information, contact your employee assistance program (EAP), a counselor, or talk with me at 1 425 828 6774

How a Company Can Respond to a National Disaster

During times of national emergency it is important for employers to provide compassionate responses to employee's concerns. As a company your main goals are to:


Best practices to reach these goals are outlined below:

1. Facilitate Informational Meetings

These meetings need to be facilitated by company representatives who can remain objective to the best of their ability and who can allow for employees' strong reactions. Taking an objective stance will allow employees a sense of safety. These meetings will provide a sense of structure, which also facilitates a sense of well being.

2. Point to Resources

At this crucial moment, the role of the workplace is to point employees to the resources that are available to them. Group and community support can go a long way in providing a sense of hope and safety. Remind employees about the Employee Assistance Program. Employees can also be reminded of other resources, such as places of worship, loved ones, friends and neighbors. You can also brainstorm with employees about any resources they identify.

3. Communication

Communication is essential. People can gain a sense of security through information. Allow employees assess to information via radio and television. Designate one or more "point persons" in the organization that employees can go to for information. Provide formal communication to employees as needed. Facilitate phone access for employees in order to call family members.

4. Interruption Of Productivity And Interventions

At this time, it is important to anticipate that it can not be business as usual for your company. Employees will be distracted and may have a sense of danger and lack of overall safety. Expect that productivity will be low. Some employees will find comfort in the structure of work. Other employees may be more reactive and may need to go home to be with loved ones. There may be some employees who are more overwhelmed.

These persons may need professional attention and can be directed to call the EAP on their own. Any employee can meet with an EAP provider in the area. Employers should allow for this range of employee needs. Identify your business priorities and communicate these to your employees.

5. A Suggested Agenda for Meeting with the Employees

Step 1. Designate a meeting place and convene group meetings with employees


Step 2. Discuss objective of meeting:


Step 3. Meeting


6. Company Response to the Greater Community

The employer can create as sense of hope by developing avenues of actions. What can your organization do to help mobilize the community? How can you be of help? Companies can call local community organizations to offer assistance as dictated by the needs of the organization. Donations and financial assistance can be made available to organizations, families or individuals.

After a National Disaster: Stress Reactions in the Work Environment

Common reactions which you may notice in yourself or in coworkers may include some of the following:

  1. Being afraid to return to the work place or being concerned about physical safety in the work environment.
  2. Changing regular work routines to avoid physical reminders of the traumatic event.
  3. Experiencing flashbacks of trauma which are triggered by sights, sounds and smells in the environment.
  4. Decreasing time spent at work through sick leave, vacations and unexplained absences.
  5. Questioning whether or not to remain at the present job or even the present profession.
  6. Being distracted from the task at hand (which can lead to accidents or errors).
  7. Deteriorating work performance and customer relations.
  8. Wondering whether they are competent to perform their job
  9. Questioning when things will get back to normal.
  10. Feeling isolated, as if others do not appear to be as affected as they are by the incident.
  11. Feeling angry about the behavior of coworkers.
  12. Breakdown in the sense of professionalism on the job.
  13. Loss of a sense of humor.
  14. Withdrawing from a previous relationship with colleagues.


Disaster Stress Reactions

You have been exposed to a disaster like a tornado, you may have exceeded the demands of day-to-day “normal” life. Your response to this event can be influenced by several factors, such as:

After an disaster it is natural to experience some "after shock" or a stress reaction. These are normal responses and are the way we process a demanding life experience. If these responses do not diminish over time it is important that you seek the help of a friend, trusted coworker, loved one or a professional counselor or your physician. Some typical stress responses can include:


  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Tremor
  • Feeling uncoordinated
  • Profuse sweating
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains*
  • Rapid heart beat*
  • Increased blood pressure*
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Rapid breathing
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Lethargic

* Check out these symptoms at a hospital


  • Slowed thinking
  • Fearful thoughts
  • Disorientation
  • Memory problems
  • Distressing dreams
  • Blaming
  • Illogical thinking
  • Memory flashbacks
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Poor judgment
  • Change in perceptions
  • Difficulty:
    • problem-solving
    • calculating
    • naming objects
    • making decisions
    • concentrating
    • learning new material


  • Anxiousness
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Grief
  • Denial
  • Depression/sadness
  • Feeling lost or abandoned
  • Numbness
  • Feeling isolated
  • Worry about self and/or others
  • Wanting to hide
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Hopeless
  • Helpless
  • Overwhelmed
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure


  • Crying spells
  • Extreme hyperactivity
  • Change in activity
  • Withdrawal
  • Increased/decreased
    • intake of food
    • sleep
    • sexual activity
  • Increased:
    • smoking
    • drinking
    • drug use
    • absenteeism
    • need for safety
    • conflicts
  • Overly vigilant
  • Avoiding change in:
    • social patterns
    • communication
    • hygiene
    • self-care
    • productivity

Employers who wish to establish an EAP program with over-ther-phone crisis counseling for employees are invited to call me at

1 425 828 6774.


Thank you for your time.



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ANKE van de WAAL
Harbor Lights Building, 515 Lake Street South, Suite 203,
Kirkland, WA 98033 E-mail:
Phone: 425-828-6774 - fax: 425-827-5528
Copyright 2000, ANKE van de WAAL. All rights reserved.