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Friday, 04 Dec 2015

Life Post The Paris Terror Attacks - The Saturday Show - Channel 5 - Dr Becky Spelman

By Private Therapy Clinic

LIFE POST THE PARIS TERROR ATTACKS – The Satursday Show – Channel 5 – Dr Becky Spelman from becky spelman on Vimeo.


We’re joined by Dr Becky Spelman, a cognitive behavioural Psychologist to take a look at the varying responses and why we react the way we do.

Becky says, “Parents need to have an open discussion with children about what they’ve seen on the news and social media. It’s important to ask questions to get an insight into your child’s emotional world. Things like, what do you think has happened in Paris? What have you seen? How does it make you feel? Is there anything you’re particularly worried about? Talk to them about these things and investigate why they’re anxious.”

Becky says, “People unifying and showing solidarity in times like these can offer strength and support. People can be hugely affected by such tragedies whether directly impacted or not. If you feel that you’re becoming increasingly anxious about traveling on public transport, being in busy areas and generally going about your everyday life then it’s important that you recognise this and talk to your close friends and family about what you’re feeling. Mindfulness can be a very useful way of bringing you back to the here and now and return you to the present moment rather than thinking about what might or could happen. If you’ve been directly affected by an event such as this then you may be suffering from acute anxiety that could lead to post traumatic stress disorder. Some people can suffer from this level of anxiety even if they haven’t been directly impacted but if they’re particularly empathetic or have a very anxious nature. People suffering from high anxiety will often find their minds invaded by images and thoughts about the attacks. People often try to block these out by not reading newspapers, going online or watching the news. They try to avoid the whole subject because it makes them feel so anxious. My advice would be to confront this emotion. Do some exposure work. Watch the news and read everything. If there’s a particularly distressing news piece watch it over and over and eventually you won’t feel anxiety or fear anymore. It will become neutral. It’s the same with a scary movie, the first time it may have a severe effect on you but by the 50th time you won’t feel anxious, you’ll feel bored by it. It will have lost its fear.”

Becky says, “We all have different responses to tragedy. Humour can be a great tool to laugh in the face of adversity and unify people. It can be a way of showing strength and saying to the terrorists, ‘you’re not going to get the better of us’. Using humour is a fine and ok to respond. The worry can be that somebody is using humour to guise or suppress their true emotions. It’s important not to hide behind it. It’s a trait that we see in lots of different cultures but I’d say it is particularly British. In American society they are much more comfortable talking about their emotions compared to the British who still find it difficult to talk about how they’re feeling”.

Becky says, “Anxiety can stop people from living. Role models such as Andy Murray are incredible empowering and send a message that life goes on and people need to make sure they continue to live. It’s an incredibly useful healing tool and continuing with life as usual stops people becoming constrained by their anxiety.”

Becky says, “Paris is close to home, both in proximity and our cultures. It’s very easy for people to watch the news footage and feel anxious that London will be the next target or that it could have been here. Our brains take a cognitive shortcut and automatically look at all the similarities between the two countries and how the attacks could have been here rather than the things that make us different and the reasons it didn’t happen here. Uncertainty makes people anxious but life is full of uncertainties, risks and things that can go wrong. If you’re somebody who is obsessive about making elements of your life certain then that’s something you need to address and recognise”.

About Dr Becky Spelman:
Dr Becky Spelman has years experience as a Psychologist and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist . She uses a range of methods to and other difficulties such as relationship difficulties, depression, low-self esteem, social anxiety, fear of public speaking, fear of intimacy,  interpersonal difficulties, anger, body image issues, eating disorders and addictions.