Impact of Terrorism in our Mental Health [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_Carole_Lieberman_Terrorism_Mental_HealthGuest: Dr. Carole Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H.
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Carole Lieberman, M.D. is a Beverly Hills psychiatrist who wears many hats. Besides treating patients, she is a bestselling author, TV personality, radio talk show host, expert witness and competitive equestrian. Her books include Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them and When to Leave Them; Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets; and Coping with Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted. She is currently at work on a new book, Murder By TV: A Descent Into Madness, a first-person account of her journey as the defense expert witness in the Jenny Jones talk show murder trial.

Segment overview: Dr. Carole Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H., who is known as “America’s Psychiatrist” discusses how living under the ongoing threat of encroaching terrorism is what she feels to be one of 3 top psych problems facing America.


Health Professional Radio

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, glad that you could join us today. It’s just been days since a Russian airbus A321 airline that crashed, many believing that it was felled as a result of a bomb planted by a known terrorist organization just days ago. With that so fresh in the headlines and in the top of all of our minds, our guest in studio today has come in to talk with us about how the looming threat of terrorism is in her opinion, one of top 3 mental health conditions or health maladies facing Americans today. Dr. Carole Lieberman is with us today, not only is she a Beverly Hills psychiatrist, she’s also a bestselling author, television personality, radio talk show host, an expert witness, and a competitive equestrian as well. Now her books include ‘Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them and When to Leave Them,’ ‘Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets,’ and ‘Coping with Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted.’ We’ll probably get into the ladder of her books with our subject matter today. How are you doing today Dr. Lieberman?

Dr. Carole Lieberman: Fine, thank you. Pleasure to be with you.

N: Thank you so much for coming on today. Now you’re an author, a television personality, a talk show host, how do you find the time?

(Both) (Laugh)

L: I don’t sleep (Laugh). I just feel really passionate about trying to wake people up to certain things that are going on in the world, terrorism of course being the top. And also just helping people to understand themselves better. And to understand how their childhood and previous life experiences are still affecting them today. Because really, in America as well as, really all around the world we are dealing with so many more problems that we ever had and people need to be able to gain insight into these issues and into themselves to be able to be happy – try to be happy despite all of this.

N: Well you know, when you’re talking about gaining insight, you mentioned gaining insight into these issues as well as gaining insight into themselves. Are we talking about a balance of paying attention to what’s going on while at the same time paying attention to what’s going on with yourself or is one more important than the other?

L: Well I give you an example, I think terrorism as America’s psychiatrist, I think terrorism is the number 1 threat that is affecting people not just like literally a threat. But a threat to people’s psyche and a threat to their body and I’ll tell you why, and the worst part of all this is how much in denial people are. For example, the memories of 911 have really not stopped affecting us. We are still living with that, those memories hanging over our heads. And at the same time we’re living with daily reminders in the news of the terrorist threat, the one that you just mentioned of course, the latest one… We saw for way too long the people were trying to conceal the fact that in fact it could be related to terrorism their all this theories, “Oh we don’t know” and the black box.

N: Uh huh. Yes, you don’t need to worry.

N: Yes. When really all along, they had got a pretty good suspicion that it was related to terrorism. So people are going around… part of our mentality, part of the way our mind protects itself is to try not to be overwhelmed with some of these issues. But there’s a fine line between not being overwhelmed and being in denial because as long as we stay in denial about the fact that there is this ongoing threat. It’s not just America – I mean of course America – the west, but Australia, New Zealand all over the world, there isn’t one country now … well except in the Middle East where they’re the terrorists, but even there of course it’s pandemonium. So it’s really important for people to wake up and instead of denying that there ever, for example in America it’s gonna be 911 and other terrorist attacks – it’s important to wake up and realize that we need to do something every day to make ourselves stronger, physically and psychologically stronger.

N: When you talk about being in denial, I understand that. I get that. But how much is denial because of fear and how much is not necessarily denial a stagnation due to fear? And wondering “Okay who’s gonna be the one to actually tell us what we can do about this problem?”

L: Yes, that’s a very good point. There is that too. In psychological term that also applies to this is cognitive dissonance.

N: Uh huh.

L: In other words, on one level we are intellectually aware. We can’t escape from news reports all of the time about issues like the plane hit by the Russian plane.

N: Uh huh.

L: But at the same time, to protect ourselves from recognizing that or relating to that emotionally, on another level we’re pretending to ourselves that it doesn’t exist. And yet there are obvious things that you can really attribute back to 911 such as the obesity epidemic that’s gotten worse since then. People are stuffing themselves as a way to comfort themselves, they’re eating comfort food.

N: Ah comfort food. Yeah.

L: Yes. Comfort food because they still need to be comforted from this cataclysmic break in our security. The spilling, we never would have thought. We never did think before 911 that’s that kind of thing could happen here. And other countries are experiencing the same kinds of shocking, London for example 77 that was their 911. This is really happening all over. And so there is fall out and we do need to do things, for example psychologically.

N: Uh huh.

L: We need to … a lot of things people we hear about different things to control our stress – to distress ourselves. And yet to the most part we don’t do it, like aroma therapy candles or exercise or.

N: A positive self-talk.

L: Yes. Or getting enough sleep. (Laugh) All of these things, I mean as physical and mental, all these things that we hear about, but we don’t really … we don’t have time for it and we don’t take it seriously. I mean these are the kinds of things we need to actually incorporate into our lives and then…


N: As the author of ‘Coping with Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted,’ some of the things that you’re taking about, does your book describe what we can do in order to basically cope with our dreams being interrupted?

L: Yes, absolutely. I’ve included a 365 one for each day things that you can do to try psychologically to strengthen yourself, strengthen your resilience, and physically as well. I mean, people if there is another attack or even if it’s 911 okay happened in New York and Pennsylvania and Washington, so people who, I mean I live in California so some people think “Oh well that happened there and I’m not really affected.” But at the same time, we all have television sets, we see this. We see it again and again and again, yeah there as for example they play the buildings falling again and again and again. And each time that those actually stress us out and it’s like seeing it for the first time almost. And so people who watch the news at night, okay. We hear about the bomb hitting the plane … the bomb heating the Russian plane and people turn the set off and then go to sleep. Well needless to say, people aren’t sleeping that well. In America and in other countries when they hear that kind of news. And so what does that do? That affects their body, it affects their health, but it also affects their productivity at work the next day. It affects their relationships with their family members, with their friends, with their coworkers. I mean all of these things have a domino effect. And the root of that, it’s just affecting us in so many different ways.

N: That is why it’s called terrorism. I mean terror being of the mind whereas horror is of the eyes and then you get a combination of the two. It’s a mind, it’s a destructive weapon – the most destructive weapon that’s why it’s called terrorism.

L: Right.

N: Because it saturates each level of our very existence, especially when we consider ourselves a civilize kind of world to bring in some of the most uncivilized of acts in order to strike terror into the minds of the victims and the families of the victims is way too much to handle for most folks.

L: Yes and it’s not just the literal victims who were killed or hurt, injured by the particular attack.

N: Uh huh.

L: But all of us who suffered this blow.

N: Now where can our listeners get a copy of “Coping with Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted” and get more information about you as well?

L: Well I think the best way would be to go to my website which is D R C A R O L E dot com.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. It’s been a pleasure talking with Dr. Carole Lieberman today, also known as ‘America’s Psychiatrist.’ She’s been on a mission to help people gain insights into themselves in order to solve problems that they may be facing. And she does this not only thru her books as a published author, but also through her television appearances on all of the talk shows including Oprah and O’reilly. And also through her radio show that can be heard on Dr. Carole’s Couch. She’s been here with us today talking about some of the ways that the looming threat of terrorism saturates each and every aspect of our lives simply by just sharing the news and wondering when and if someone is actually going to do something about it or simply going into denial and trying to live our lives as if nothing is actually going on. It’s been a pleasure talking with you today Dr. Lieberman.

L: Thank you.

N: Thank you so much. Transcript and audio of this program are available at and also at And you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

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