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Dedicated to the Employees of Malaysia Airlines

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As a veteran Pan Am flight attendant from 1965 to 1986, and a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist for the past 27 years, I feel compelled to reach out to the employees of your company to offer whatever help and understanding that I've garnered over the years from my extensive study of trauma experienced by airline personnel. I've written about the emotional effects of terrorism, changes in the airline industry, and the loss of companies, employment, and lifestyle.

I think I can speak especially for all those former (and present) employees of Pan Am, TWA, American, United -- and many other airlines -- that we are literally feeling your pain. We all understand that this is an unimaginable and incomprehensible trauma to all of you, and -- as is always true in the worldwide airline community -- our hearts are with you. We all grieve these tragedies, regardless of company or country.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, just as I was writing an article for American Airlines flight attendants about their traumatic reactions, their company experienced another crash in November. This double tragedy seemed for many employees to be just too much to tolerate. It mirrored what I would imagine that most of you are experiencing now.

I hope the following blog,, written at that time, can now give you some insight into your suffering.

In hopes of giving you a deeper understanding of trauma, I'm also posting the link to my autobiographical book review of Dr. Robert Stolorow's excellent book, Trauma and Human Existence: Autobiographical, Psychoanalytic, and Philosophical Reflections: This review is an attempt to put very complex ideas into a reader-friendly context.

The airline social media sites to which I belong are full of the anguished reactions of your brothers and sisters in the same dark night. We are with you.