LIU Post Trauma Expert to Testify Before Sandy Hook Commission
Dr. Thomas Demaria, director of mental health clinic and expert on community trauma, invited to address commission formed by Connecticut Gov. Dannell P. Malloy Friday, Feb. 22
Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post, Long Island University
Brookville, N.Y. – Dr. Thomas P. Demaria, director of the public mental health clinic at LIU Post and a nationally recognized expert on community trauma, will testify Friday, Feb. 22 before Connecticut Gov. Dannell P. Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, an expert panel formed after the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Dr. Demaria and students in the LIU Post Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program have extensive experience in counseling people from communities that have experienced tragedies, from natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti to serious crimes or fatal accidents.
Among the topics of their research is the creation of memorials after traumatic events – official ones as well as spontaneous, informal tributes, often assembled by young people processing grief. The nature of informal memorials can yield important clues to the emotions young people are experiencing, Dr. Demaria said.
“It’s a good way to get a sense of what the kids need to do to process their feelings,” he said.
Dr. Demaria is the founder of the Trauma Response Team, a volunteer group of clinical psychology doctoral students and professors at LIU Post who have provided counseling to people affected by Hurricane Sandy, the 9/11 terror attacks and other traumatic events. He is a member of the advisory board of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement.
Dr. Demaria co-founded the World Trade Center Family Center to serve families of people who died in the attacks as well as first responders and their families. He has also advised communities on establishing similar institutions along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
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