Keiser University Professor and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Taryn Fetscher recently shared insight with WPBF (ABC) Anchor Eric Guy and viewers relating to how South Floridians can support one another as they cope with the recent Orlando tragedies. To view the segment, please click here .

“The first reaction many experience with tragedy is shock or disbelief,” said Fetscher. “People ask why or how this event could happen. They may search the news and listen closely for each new piece of evidence presented as they try to make sense of such a tragedy. They may talk about the incident with colleagues, family members, friends and even strangers. They seek information and to try to figure out a way to manage the information and to cope without their own worry, sadness, fear or anger,” she said.

In order to help one another and to cope, Fetscher recommended people:

  1. Talk about their feelings
  2. Help others (donate, serve)
  3. Avoid watching endless episodes of the news where the tragedy is repeated.
  4. Use care with social media, which can be upsetting if people are venting or complaining and spreading negativity.
  5. Be sensitive to those around them. Someone may be a victim and they could be harmed by what we say or do.
  6. If someone is a victim, use care and understanding and avoid asking questions about the incident. This can re-traumatize the person.
  7. If people experience secondary traumatic stress, they may benefit from professional help. Their primary care doctor or insurance provider can make a referral. Other organizations have helplines:
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)800-950-6264
  • org    CALL 211
  • Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County 561.801.4357

“There is no standard for coping with this type of loss,” said Fetscher. “People try their best to manage their feelings around this loss. Most communicate with others, and some take action through providing help in the form of donations and services. Helping others is effective because it temporarily takes the focus off one’s worry by shifting the focus to service, which makes people feel better,” she added.

Dr. Taryn Fetscher is a licensed clinical psychologist.  She joined Keiser University as a faculty member in 2015 and is currently the Psychology Program Director at the West Palm Beach Campus. Her professional background is in Clinical Psychology. She graduated from Marist College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. She went on to earn a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She completed a psychology internship and postdoctoral residency in Minnesota where she specialized in clinical neuropsychology. For the past 25 years, she has provided psychological services in various settings, including outpatient and community mental health clinics, inpatient or acute psychiatric settings, neuropsychological rehabilitation facilities, and juvenile and adult detention centers. Dr. Fetscher’s competencies include: clinical psychology, psychological assessment, neuropsychology and psychotherapy.  She has extensive experience in treating clients of diverse ages (children to older adults), diverse physical and mental health conditions, and diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds.

In addition to practicing clinical psychology Dr. Fetscher has educated and trained students in psychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is passionate about two things: helping clients understand the reason for their difficulties and recover from or cope with their difficulties, and educating future mental healthcare providers to continue the tradition of caring.

WPBF Interview - Taryn Fetscher June 2016 (2)