Trauma expert advises East Texans to be prepared

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - If you find yourself in the midst of a traumatic event, you'll want to call on Patrick Tiner. The clinical social worker's collected approach at the 1985 Delta 191 crash in Dallas got him noticed.

"I have since responded to almost 300 major disasters and traumas both locally, statewide and internationally," said Tiner, the director of Employee Assistance Program services at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Tiner discovers at each disaster the same mistake made over and over again. "To over react and not act in a calm, structured and safe manner," said Tiner.

SFA social work students are learning from Tiner how to help trauma victims get their life back in order.

"A lot of social workers deal on the individual and family level," said Kristin Wallace, a faculty member in the SFA School of Social Work. "I think we need more involvement on the community level in dealing with larger situations that impact larger groups of people."

American Red Cross has been doing that for generations. Many caring volunteers have a natural knack for reducing trauma stress.

"They're people that are gonna talk with them as opposed to avoid talking to clinicians or therapists," Tiner observed. "They might talk to that person sitting there giving them food or handling out supplies because they need talk to someone."

Guns on college campuses also concerns this father of a SFA social work student. He claims the provision would lead to more college violence.

"I know that people want to protect themselves and I am for that, but I'm also concerned that sometimes that type of issue could get out of control," said Tiner.

No matter what the traumatic event, Tiner is convinced every community needs to be prepared with a plan.

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