A recent story on NBCNews.com highlighted how some unique organizations — including Shirley Ryan AbilityLab — provide psychological treatment, in addition to traditional physical therapy, to patients who survive gun violence.
According to the article, 9 in 10 survivors of gun violence experience symptoms of trauma, including insomnia, depression, nightmares, alcohol and substance abuse, and difficulty concentrating.
In the article, Jenna Sarna, Psy.D. manager, Psychology/Patient Family Counseling, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, described the psychological support services that she and her colleagues provide these patients.
“Emotional distress is not always as visible as the physical injuries can be,” Dr. Sarna said. “But it can be equally painful and impacting. So, part of our goal is to help these individuals, both physically and emotionally, with their rehab needs, through our interdisciplinary team.”
She also discussed the benefits of treating the psychological needs of these patients.
“It’s amazing watching their journey while they’re going through the treatment,” Dr. Sarna said. “We get to help support them and give them coping strategies and help them find ways to process or to de-stress or to reduce that physiological arousal and partner with them and kind of walk them through it.”