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November 4, 2016
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May 19, 2000
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January 22, 1981
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Approved g1~2800~08ry0 :1gIA-RDP96-00788 R002100450003-8 Hostages' joy Over Freedom May Hide Deeper Damage; Psychologists Warn By Donia Mills ? Washipgton?Star Staff Writer An elated nation that watched the American hostages' smiling, waving flight to freedom should not turn off its concern along with the tele- vision set, experts on the psychology of captivity warn:. "They look so happy - that's the .sadness of it," says Charles Stenger, director, of services for American 'Ex-Prisoners of War, an organiza- tion of sonfe- 94,000. "They've sur-. Vived, but it's left its mark.". The big danger now for hostages, families and public alike, said Sten- ger, a 58-year-old Bethesda psychol- ogist who was captured by Germans in the 1944 Battle of the Bulge, "is In wanting. to pretend it's all over, UPI it's all behind them , STAFF SGT. JAMES HUGHES "The thing to look out for now is what we refer to as the 'second Returnees looked sad, he says Injury'-the damage that can result They (the Iranians) were probably later from the failure of people to doing a macho number on: them, understand and respond'to the resid and dealing badly with the women. ual effects of the captive's exper- as well, because of that whole ience." middle-Eastern attitude toward.fe- Psychologists. agree that the males." outward appearances of exuberance Others suggested that the expressed by the freed Americans seasoned veterans of diplomatic-an4 during their stopover in Algeria and military service had mere disci- their arrival in Germany may belie pline, stressful expet'ience and in- the deeper psychic damage suffered stitutional and family bonds to during their 15 months of intern- bolster them than the younger cap- ment. tives. "All of them looked sad to me," "It helps you bang on to your sense said Staff Sgt. James Hughes, one of self-esteem If you can find any of 13 hostages freed soon after mili- roles to make you feel worthwhile, tants took over the U.S. Embassy, said Stenger in recalling his own "They had that sadness in their captivity. "I was a medic - I was eyes." busy all the time." Even in these brief televised But despite the anticipated read- glimpses, the trained eyes of medical justment period, authorities stress authorities could detect subtler that the professional training and, symptoms of problems to come. - dedication of the hostages - most "I was struck by a remark made of whom volunteered for the' post by one of the Algerian pilots," one with the understanding that risks psychologist said. "He described the might be involved - will bring hostages as being 'like trained ani- them through the ordeal with better- mals.' And indeed It did seem odd, than-average results, the way they did what they were "These are 52 educated, well- told, they didn't get out of line, how functioning, superior people," totally docile and manageable they Singer pointed out. "They're going were despite their joy." to do a lot better than, say, 52 citizens Dr. Margaret Singer, a Berkeley, you picked up at random one day Calif., psychologist who has done out of the supermarket.", extensive "de-programming" work In their first phone calls to rel- with POWs and cult victims, said atives back in the U.S. yesterday, some of the hostages "looked awfully some of the hostages made it clear geared down" - a psychological that they had been psychologically, term, she explained, used to describe if not physically, abused by their the way victims in life-threatening Iranian captors. situations deliberately reduce their John Limbert told his father the! level of feeling in order to cope he spent nine months out of the 14 with stress. in solitary cor, inement, and others "I thought the young men,particu- complained of being isolated from larly, looked more subdued than the their colleagues, tied up at night, gray-bearded ones in their 40s and denied even bathroom privileges SOs," said Singer, who was a court- without asking permission, and bav- appointed examiner of Patricia ing mail heavily censored. Hearst during her trial on bank rob- And the family of Malcolm Kelp ' bery charges with members of the in Brockton, Mass., said they learned Symbionese Liberation Army. today that the reason nobody back. "I think a key fact here is that home heard from him during the the captors were males about the 444 days of captivity was that he same age as the younger captives, tried to escape several times and which may have made-them victims was punished. of particularly sadistic treatment. "He told as he was beaten by them and placed In solitary confinement because of his escape attempts," said Kalp's sister-in-law, Linda Kelp. . The -returning hostages are on "cloud nine" right now, warns Dr. Edna J. Hunter, another California psychologist who has done consid. erable study on POW readjustment problems:"'But l do think after this initial euphoria there are tremen- dous readjustments to be mage. "It will take three or four weeks before the letdown comes, although I have a hunch that none of them = or their families - believe right now that there-will be any prob- lems." -- - Stenger said that the combination of extremedanger and total help- lessness-often leaves hostages with a feeling of anxiety and vulnerabil- ity similar lo that of rape victims. "When you go through a long pe- riod of time totally at the mercy of someone who Is hostile or at best indifferent to your existence and when you can't do a damn thing to protect yourself,it,has a disastrous effect," he-said. "It's'much worse than bein)gin combat, where at least you can run', or pickup a gun and shoot back.' I Stenger, who also serves as Vet- erans Administration coordinator for POW affairs, said studies of 94,000 surviving American POWs shows that the former; prisoners suffer eight to 10 times the lingering anxi- ety'problems of normal combat vet- erans. - "This doesn't mean that they're going to run around and act crazy," he added. "But such intense stress over such a long period of time manifests itself in unpredictable ways at unpredictable times. When you've lived for 15 months with the gas pedal all the way to the floor, it's certainly not going to do your motor any good." Dr. Demetrios A. Julius, chief of psychiatric services at the Veterans Administration Center in Rich- mond, predicts the hostages will ex- perience a surfacing of "real rage" after the initial sense of euphoria has passed. 'I think they'll feel a sense of deep loss over a part of their lives they can never regain,' he said. "When it sinks in that the agreement specifies they can't file suits against Iran, that they can never be com- pensated even in this material way for what they've suffered, I think it will make some of them very, very angry. Julius, who served as a counselor for Americans in Iran from 1977 un- til his flight out in January 1979, said that watching the plane land in Algiers "brought it all back, that sickly feeling of remembering how threatened we felt, the taunts and the'pipe bombs, the fear of not get- ting eut In time. I hope we don't forget these peo- ple six months down the road,' he added. 'I think we've just seen the ti +f the iceburg..' Approved For Release 2000/08/08 : CIA-RDP96-00788R002100450003-8