Finding Compassion in a Dark Day – NZAP press release

15 March 2019

New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists (NZAP) acknowledge the shock and grief of the Moslem communities of Aotearoa and affected communities of Christchurch.  Particularly we wish to acknowledge the suffering of the families of the forty New Zealand citizens who have had their lives cut short and the trauma of the helpers and witnesses.

“While recognising the violence of this shocking incident, and sharing in the community of grief, it is important to call on the generous and loving aspects of our humanity. Let’s hope journalists, politicians and all New Zealanders active on social media, focus on the safety and comfort of the survivors, the heroism of the police, the compassion of St Johns medics and citizens who came to help, rather than the lives and ideas of perpetrators of this crime. Copy cat crimes can be a risk following events of this kind,” said Lynne Holdem, Public Issues spokesperson for NZAP.

Guidelines prepared by the Public Affairs of the American Psychoanalytic Association show the way to reduce such risks, continued Holdem.  https://www.reportingonmassshootings.org/

“Socially isolated individuals, preoccupied with resentment or hatred and wanting to gain “celebrity status” can be influenced by media coverage that gives exposure to the perpetrators and focuses on  details of the shooting.  Young men who are struggling with thoughts of suicide and homicide may use news reports and video to feed their own shadowy fantasies.” Holdem added. 

“We are generally a compassionate and peace loving people and lets hope we remain this way. When communities reach out to isolated people on our margins, they become safer as they feel more belonging and more connection to others. It is easy, when we aren’t threatened, to be kind and hold awareness of the needs of others and treat other people with respect. When under stress, or up against polarising views, it is much harder not to be reactive or retributive, and to hold to our values of good will peace and justice. 

Courageous Taranaki tangata whenua, under the severest of threats from colonising forces, remained strong and committed to non-violence. In March 1880 as the government prepared its attack on Parihaka, Te Whiti o Rongomai said  ‘Though some, in darkness of heart, seeing their land ravished, might wish to take arms and kill the aggressors, I say it must not be.’ Let’s remember Te Whiti, in these dark days. 

Lynne Holdem

Public Issues Portfolio

New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists

lynneholdem@gmail.com

Mobile: 0274803523