Coping with the Tragic Events at the US Capitol

If you are reeling after the events that took place at the United States Capitol recently, you are not alone! These events have threatened our sense of safety and security in the world.

We need to know we can rely on certain boundaries – such as laws and societal norms – in order to feel a sense of safety, stability, and consistency in the world. Such boundaries enable us to feel in control of our surroundings and help us to feel less anxious and this contributes to a sense of well-being and stable mental health.

Shock, fear, anger, helplessness, and grief?

Adults and children will remember January 6th, 2021 for the rest of their lives. Regardless of your political views, you know that people lost their lives at our US Capitol building, a building that we are all familiar with.

This reminds us of how fragile life is and how the decisions that we make are so important to our well-being and our feelings of stability in the world.

Watching these live events can cause vicarious trauma. If you are empathetic or a highly sensitive personality type you may experience intense feelings as if you were actually present at the US Capitol. This tragic event will be burned into the minds of our children and will negatively impact their sense of safety and stability.

Like all trauma, this memory will be freeze-framed, like a postcard, imprinted in the psyche of many.  And repeatedly seeing these scenes in the media multiplies the damage.

Are you experiencing vicarious trauma?

You may be experiencing vicarious trauma if you:

  • Replay horrific pictures or video in your mind;
  • Have trouble sleeping;
  • Feel irritable and/or angry;
  • Have an upset stomach;
  • Feel on edge, hyper-vigilant; and/or
  • Use alcohol, drugs, food to numb your feelings

I understand, and I can help.

I have free and low-cost guided meditation and hypnosis programs available online. All of these can be repeated as needed.
Feeling stressed or anxious and short on time? There are 4 short guided meditations to help you feel calm.
My Decrease Anxiety and Stress audio program (mp3) will help you stay in control of your own emotions and teaches you to create an internal state of safety.

If you’re having trouble with sleep, my Sleep Deeply and Soundly audio program (mp3) could make a big difference in getting the quality sleep you need.

Healing is needed, and you can be the change.

This is a time to evaluate your life choices and how you influence the world. Every day, we have to decide: are we going to be a source of peace in the world or are we going to add to these troubles?

Remind yourself that others are watching and influenced by you – your children, friends, family, and acquaintances. When you dedicate yourself consciously live as a positive example you can positively influence others and hence, the world.

I have hope for the American people. Having lived through the Troubles in Northern Ireland, I believe that we can learn and grow from these events. I choose to take a long-term view – a big picture perspective.

Whatever our politics, we are all connected to and affected by one another. We all want the same things: to be happy, to be at peace, and most importantly to feel safe in this world. 

May you and your loved ones feel safe and be at peace.

Isobel McGrath Signature

Isobel McGrath is a licensed International Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, and Certified Hypnotherapist located in St. Augustine, FL.

Isobel provides therapy, counseling, and hypnosis in person at her St. Augustine Beach office, and through Telehealth. She is dedicated to providing exceptional, collaborative care, and truly cares about her clients and their well-being. 

For more information about St. Augustine Therapist Isobel McGrath, please visit:, and