The Anniversary Effect of 9/11

What can be done to help patients turn painful memories into opportunities for posttraumatic growth?

Anniversaries help to define generations. Almost everyone can remember where they were when John F. Kennedy was shot, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, and when the World Trade Center collapsed.

These anniversaries can bring patients’ the active symptoms of trauma, from anxiety and depression to panic attacks, anger, and substance use. But anniversaries can also be an occasion for post-traumatic growth. In this Mental Health Minute, Kenneth Yeager, PhD, MSW, LISW, talks about how to help patients reframe these situations—on September 11th or on any other important date.

Dr Yeager is the director of the Stress, Trauma, and Resilience Program at the Ohio State University, where he is also a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Medicine.

How do you help patients handle difficult anniversaries? Share comments with your colleagues by emailing PTEditor@mmhgroup.com. Comments may be shared online pending review and editing for style.