"Within weeks (after the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001), several thousands grief and crisis counsellors arrived in the city. Some were dispatched by charitable and religious organizations, many others worked for private companies that provide services to businesses following catastrophes" wrote Jerome Groopman in The New Yorker of 26 January 2004 - yes, I'm a bit behind with my reading, I know.
I've always wondered what these care-teams that are routinely dispatched when a tragedy occurs actually do. The most important, I remember a grief professional once saying, is to be able to listen. I must admit that such an answer (what a job qualification!) leaves me at a loss for words. And, needless to say, that is rare.
Groopman elaborates: A travel agent who was relatively numb during the debriefing his company (for fear of being sued if it didn't - lawyers are surely creative when it comes to making money) required him to participate in, said: "But the people who were really crying hadn't even been downtown."
"How much does crisis counselling help - or hurt" asks the above mentioned piece on "The Grief Industry". One of Groopmans sources opines that the idea of 'counselling' should be better dropped: "He told me that the way we respond to individual or mass trauma should be guided by how we behave after the loss of a loved one. 'What happens when someone in your family dies?' he said. 'People make sure you take care of yourself, get enough sleep, don't drink too much, have food.' ... 'No one should have to tell anyone anything.'"
That sounds pretty reasonable to me. For the full text go here