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OPA Official Statement: Response to Violence at Tree of Life Synagogue

Tuesday, October 30, 2018   (0 Comments)
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October 30, 2018

Written by: Dr. Katharine Hahn Oh – OPA President | Dr. Erich Merkle – OPA President Elect | Dr. Mary Lewis – OPA Past President | Dr. Elizabeth Harris – OPA Diversity Vice President

In response to the recent shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, The Ohio Psychological Association expresses our deepest concern and sympathy to those directly and indirectly effected by this senseless act of hate. We stand in unity with our neighboring state, the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and with the Jewish community at large.  We condemn acts of hatred, gun violence, and crimes related to religious extremism and prejudice. 

What can we do about this kind of violence? It may seem easiest to feel helpless or to despair. However, as psychologists, there is much good we can do. To quote Dr. Ruth Fassinger, President of APA Division 17: 

Let us renew our resolve to use our words—our knowledge, our ability to listen and talk and help people heal—to repair the world, or in Hebrew, tikkun olam, in a fitting tribute to our Jewish brothers and sisters. Tikkun olam requires us to open our hearts and minds to the grief and pain of others, and to reach out in community and to bond in humanity as we challenge hate wherever we find it, using all of the tools we have, personally and professionally.

One psychologist friend of mine in Pittsburgh helped her neighbors stay safe as they sheltered near the synagogue in a coffee shop during the lock down. Each of us may know someone effected or may feel the echoes of prior traumas as we read of these events. Traumatic events such as these can often lead to symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and an increase in safety concerns. If you or anyone you know is experiencing distress as it relates this tragic event, or if you need professional assistance to support a child who has been affected by this event, please seek out a mental health professional. 

As you care for yourself, your clients, and others this week, know that we are together in our efforts to help repair the world.



Statement from APA President: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2018/10/pittsburgh-shooting.aspx

Statement of APA President in Response to Shooting at ... www.apa.org WASHINGTON – Following is a statement by Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, in response to the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.

APA resources for coping with mass shootings/gun violence: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/10/mass-shootings.aspx

APA Resources for Coping with Mass Shootings ... www.apa.org October 2, 2017 APA Resources for Coping with Mass Shootings, Understanding Gun Violence. Includes advice on how to talk to kids, calls for public health approach to gun problems

NASP tips for talking to children about violence: http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers

Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and ... www.nasponline.org High profile acts of violence, particularly in schools, can confuse and frighten children who may feel in danger or worry that their friends or loved-ones are at risk.

APA Division 17 Webinar: “Taking action against anti-semitism: An intergenerational dialogue” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ9fMUh9Vrs (cut and paste into your browser)

Taking Action Against Anti-Semitism: An Intergenerational ... www.youtube.com How can counseling psychologists take action to address anti-Semitism in their classrooms, clinical experience, and advocacy efforts? Counseling psychologists across training levels (e.g., student ...