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In the Aftermath of a Shooting

Sorrow, Anger, Fear, Depression?  All are perfectly appropriate feelings after a massacre as awful as this one.


In the aftermath of tragedy, any of those feelings is likely to emerge, singly, together, in succession. Appropriate? Of course. 

In some cases, you may be initially numb, basically shutting down, at least for now.  Later, some of those emotions may creep in…. or they may just barge in. 

We have some information that helps to explain how these emotions work and how you can cope.  For most of us, time will allow us to go back to the world that existed before that shooting; for some, especially those with emotional ties to victims and survivors or those who can see themselves in similar, awful situations, professional help might be necessary.  Therapists trained in Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies have tools to help you deal with those emotions. 

For information, we have an extensive exploration of gun violence at  It approaches the topic from many different angles.  We also have a number of fact sheets that explore related topics, like depression; several on PTSD and; and grief

For a therapist trained in CBT, visit



Related Information

What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings.  It places emphasis on changing your cognitions (thoughts) or behaviors (actions) in order to effect change in how you feel. These approaches help people in achieving specific changes or goals.

Changes or goals might involve:

A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like reducing back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.

Cognitive behavioral therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life. CBT is an effective treatment for individuals, parents, children, couples, and families. The goal of CBT is to help people improve and gain more control over their lives by changing behaviors that don’t work well to ones that do.

How to Get Help

If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet. You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner. It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist. It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees. They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association. Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state. You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations. You may, of course, visit our website ( and click on “Find a CBT Therapist”

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition. These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.

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