DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY FACILITIES AND FIRST STEPS IN HUNGARY
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Disaster management and psychology have lots of common points of interest. Both academic and applied psychology can give support to professionals engaged in disaster reduction by offering theoretical guidance, research viewpoints and methods. On the other hand, a wide scale of phenomena experienced in catastrophic situations offer unique and irreplaceable empirical material for psychology (e.g. extreme stress reactions, risk perception, decision making under pressure, collective behaviour, special risk groups, individual and collective panic reactions, social support, disasters in mass communication). Applied psychology in the form of aid has direct relevance for people in disaster, and for professional and volunteer helpers in the fields of prevention, acute intervention, critical incident management, crisis support, recovery and rehabilitation. In case of disasters individuals and groups are subordinated to serious environmental changes that turn over usual physical and psychological frames and rules. Adapting to altered conditions and establishing new safe surroundings is a complex ask that requires concerted efforts. This paper describes the present state and the first steps of disaster psychology in Hungary and gives an account of the work experiences of the Psychological Crisis Service, an organization run by volunteer psychologists, in flood disasters over a three year period.
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