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A Good Way to Deliver Bad News: Rockland Graduate Campus Professors Author Article in Journal of Emergency Mental Health


Hudson Graduate Center at Rockland,
Long Island University

Orangeburg, N.Y. – Taking the right steps in delivering tragic news to an individual or a family member can soften the blow and allow healing to begin, while also easing the stress experienced by the messenger, two professors at the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University report in the upcoming issue of the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health.

“Communicating Bad News: A Model for EMH Helpers” by Thomas J. Nardi and Kathleen Keefe-Cooperman offers “a guide to ease the stress on both the deliverer and receiver of bad news.”

Emergency medical technicians, social workers, nurses, doctors, counselors and psychologists are often the people who inform loved ones of things like fatal accidents, violent crime or even terrorist attacks. How they approach this task can make all the difference, but “it appears that professional helpers often are not prepared sufficiently in their respective training programs on how best to communicate distressing information,” the authors write.

Keefe-Cooperman and Nardi say the bearers of bad news need to prepare themselves psychologically, professionally and physically; evaluate what the listener knows; warn them that bad news is coming; tell them the news in straightforward language; gauge the listener's emotional response, and help the listener begin to regroup.

“The EMH helper cannot change the news receivers will hear,” the authors wrote. “However, there is a way by which helpers can soften the adverse impact of the news while simultaneously facilitating the healing process.”

Keefe-Cooperman is the Director of Counseling programs at the Rockland Graduate Campus. Nardi is an adjunct professor at the Campus and the clinical director of the New York Center for Eclectic Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

The International Journal of Emergency Mental Health provides a peer-reviewed forum for researchers, scholars, clinicians and administrators to report, disseminate and discuss information relevant to the goal of improving practice and research within the field of emergency mental health.

For more information on the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University, visit or call 845-359-7200.

Posted 08/01/2006

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