Dr. Newman Recounts Haiti Trip

Saturday, May 01, 2010

TU professor visits Haiti

Dr. Elana Newman, McFarlin Associate Professor of Psychology at TU recounted the devastation in Haiti after the trip she made to help Haitian journalists cope with the trauma of covering the devastation and misery due to the earlier this year.

Dr. Newman was one of a three-person team from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The team spoke at several workshops to aid more than 170 local journalists.

Dr. Newman equated the destruction from the January 12th magnitude 7.0 earthquake as being like Dresden, the German city destroyed by bombs in World War II.  Dr. Newman said “I stopped seeing the destruction after a couple of days… which is scary”, because it became the norm everywhere she went.

Newman’s group hosted workshops in several cities around Port-au-Prince, near the quake epicenter. She and the group worked through translators to try to help the local journalist by teaching them coping techniques and skills and to reinforce their sense of purpose for what they do, she said.

Newman said she used metaphors to describe coping techniques and to overcome the difficulties with translations.  “Right now there is a wound and it’s not going away,” she said, using one of her metaphors. “So we are going to protect it.”


Dr. Elana Newman