Essay Counselling Psychology Quarterly

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Counselling Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 25, No. 1, March 2012, 83–96

Efficacy of eclectic group counseling in addressing stress among
Thai police officers in terrorist situations
Doungmani Chongruksaa*, Penprapa Parinyapola, Sayan Sawatsrib and
Chanya Pansomboonc a Department of Psychology and Guidance, Faculty of Education, Prince of Songkla
University, 181 Jalernpradit, Pattani 94000, Thailand; bPramongkok Hospital,
315 Rajchawitee Phayatai, Bangkok 104000, Thailand; cYouth Observation,
Tumbon Bangjak Muang District, Nakronsritammarat 80000, Thailand
(Received 3 December 2011; final version received 9 February 2012)
This study aims to develop the eclectic group counseling intervention for
Thai police officers to reduce the risk of developing symptoms of poor mental health while deploying in terrorist situations. We predicted that eclectic group counseling would significantly reduce high scores of anxiety, depression, social dysfunction, physical symptoms, hostility, phobic anxiety, and interpersonal sensitivity. Our eclectic group counseling included the interactive model of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, religious interventions, mandala drawing, and Reality Therapy. The design is an experiment-controlled trial with 42 participants (The experiment ¼ 20, the control ¼ 22; Thai-Buddhists ¼ 32, Thai-Muslims ¼ 10). Their mean age was 35.64 Æ 9.99 ranging from 23 to 54 year olds. They were selected from
416 police officers derived by cluster random sampling using Beck
Depression Inventory Second Edition, the General Health Questionnaire
Thai version, and the Symptom Checklist 90. The data were analyzed by two-way MANOVA and ANOVA. The results supported the hypothesis.
Keywords: eclectic group counseling; police officers; stress; terrorist;

Mental health researchers are exploring the effects of terrorism on the individual and on communities. While some highlight the psychopathological effects of terror, others focus on the human suffering, on community, and cultural factors that enable withstanding the stressful event (Levav, 2006). Many individuals show great resilience in the face of such experiences and will manifest short-lived or sub-clinical stress reactions that diminish over time (Bonanno, 2004). Most people recover without medical or psychological assistance (McNally, Bryant, & Ehlers, 2003).
Nevertheless, a range of psychological difficulties may develop following trauma in some of those who have been exposed. These include depressive reactions, phobic reactions and other anxiety disorders, alcohol and other substance misuse, and less

*Corresponding author. Email:
ISSN 0951–5070 print/ISSN 1469–3674 online ß 2012 Taylor & Francis


D. Chongruksa et al.

frequently obsessive compulsive disorder, psychotic reactions, and conversion symptoms. The violence due to unrest, particularly insurgency in the three Deep South provinces of Thailand, has created disturbance to all Thai citizens. From January
2004 to January 2010, there were a total of 9446 incidents of unrest, resulting in approximately 4100 deaths and 6509 injuries. Statistics showed that 58.95% (2417 individuals) of the deceased were Muslims, while 38.02% (1559 persons) were
Buddhists. Among the injured, 59.82% (3894 persons) were Buddhists, while 32.17%
(2094 persons) were Muslims (a surprising number, given that Buddhists comprise only 15% of the total population). The principal tool of the insurgency was by shooting, followed by the usage of explosives, particularly motorcycle bombings, with arson as the third insurgent weapon. When considering the total casualty of the deceased and the injured combined, normal citizens were the most common victims
(for deaths as well as injuries) at 4403 persons, followed by military personnel at 1433 persons, while the police