I know the title “About Feelings” sounds like something you want to avoid but this is an incredibly important newsletter produced by NATAL: Israel’s Trauma Center for the Victims of Terror and War. NATAL deals with the collective trauma experienced by a people, nation and state under siege by the forces of terror. Apolitical to a fault and staffed by a cadre of experienced, intelligent and caring people, this is an organization you should know more about.
Dr. Itamar Barnea (IAF Colonel, Res.), NATAL’s chief psychologist, agreed to reveal his personal story and cast light on the nature and meaning of traumatic experience, explaining how it influences personality and shapes perceptions, as well as how the interaction between the healing elements and the injured elements of both therapist and patient facilitate growth and reconnection. Prof. Avi Bleich met with Dr. Barnea and the following article documents a fascinating encounter between two therapists who treat trauma victims.
The Mobile Unit, a model developed specifically for treating families suffering from anxiety in Sderot, has been functioning for eighteen months now. Despite concerns that residents of the city would not be receptive to this service, the natural suspicion of some local institutions providing therapeutic services and the opposition of conservative professionals, the Mobile Unit quickly proved its potential and became tremendously popular. Dr. Rony Berger, who developed the model for NATAL, presents a chapter from his diary.
Dr. Udi Lebel on “Israeli Management of Emotions.” With the public courage to admit this and the psychological resilience to withstand it, discourse that imbues Israeli-ness with national, communal and social meaning could return. In order to reach this end, as much as possible must be done to provide residents with both physical and psychological protection and to stop denying its difficulties.
Varda Horwitz, “Be my Mother, my Sister.” Udit Sheffer (an art therapist and couples and families therapist), and Hadassah Ashdot, (psychologist and group facilitator) members of NATAL’s clinical staff, lead a support group for women married to men suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Saar Uzlely, Director of the Clinical Unit on the Released Soldiers Project. The Released Soldiers Project is geared for released combat soldiers who served in the territories during the intifada and/or The Second Lebanon War. The history of Israel’s wars teaches us that the consequences of battle are not only physical but also psychological. According to statistics, ten percent of combat soldiers in any given war will develop psychological trauma symptoms. A range of variables relating to the cohesiveness of the unit, familial and social support, etc. can also cause psychological trauma symptoms or, alternately, protect against them.