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Children gathered together as healing process begins

Updated: 2013-04-24 01:42
By Hu Yongqi and An Baijie in Ya'an, Sichuan and He Na in Beijing ( China Daily)

Children gathered together as healing process begins

Liu Zhengkui, a senior researcher from the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, gives counseling to 13-year-old Liu Qi on Tuesday in a tent on the playground of Longxing Primary School in Lushan county, Sichuan province. FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY  

Sessions relieve stress as kids, parents struggle with aftermath

A child's picture of a nice house with two legs attracted the attention of Liu Zhengkui, assistant to president of the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, when Liu and six fellow psychological experts hosted a counseling lecture at Longxing Primary School in Lushan county on Tuesday morning.

The counseling was set up for 40 school children, but more than 200 students and 100 parents showed up.

Children gathered together as healing process begins

Earthquake Strikes Ya'an, Sichuan

"If the house has legs, it can run when another quake hits. Then no one will be killed and injured, and we don't need to sleep in the tent anymore," 12-year-old Wei Runda said.

"The boy's drawing delivered a strong signal that he does not feel secure. And so do the drawings of many other kids," Liu said.

"The first eight to 10 days after the quake are vital to after-quake counseling. If not handled properly, the short-term stimulus reaction will be easily turned to psychological problems or even mental illness," he said. "That's why we hurried here."

During the two-hour lecture, experts handed out three pieces of paper to each youngster and asked them to draw what their houses looked like before and after the quake, and how they will appear in the future.

"I was not surprised that more than 90 percent of the houses they drew after the quake are a total mess, while the houses before the quake all look pretty nice and neat," said Zhu Zhuohong, an assistant researcher at the institute.

"We hope through drawings to help the kids accept the reality that was changed by the quake, and remove negative feelings after making the comparison," he said.

They also asked the children to consider the process of how saplings grow up to trees that reach the sky.

"We are using hypnotism to some extent to help children further understand that if you want the rainbow, you must put up with the rain. And family members will always be their backup, no matter what happens," Zhu said.

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