In the News: A Perspective on Former Captives’ Collaboration

David Castro-Blanco, Ph.D., ABPP

David Castro-Blanco, Ph.D., ABPP

David Castro-Blanco, Ph.D., ABPP, Core Faculty in Clinical Psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology, maintains practice and research expertise in child and adolescent psychology, particularly in the areas of anxiety and psychopathology. Last night, NBC 5 Chicago asked him to talk with anchor Marion Brooks on its nightly digital program “The Talk” about a new YouTube video by three young women held captive in Cleveland for more than a decade. The video was their first public statements since they were found and freed in May.

In my opinion, the chief reason for rolling out the video without advance publicity and in the manner in which it debuted on YouTube was to try to do something these young women had been denied while in captivity: Assert some control over their respective situations, and demonstrate collectively that they not only survived the experience, but can continue on with a “normal” life afterwards.

The importance of collaborating on the video, I think, speaks to a couple of points.

  • First, it’s an acknowledgement that the three of them ALL endured this situation together, and were making a statement in their joint recovery, despite the fact that each has gravitated to her own individual or familial support system.
  • Secondly, it actually empowers each of them to seek respect for their privacy, by all making a statement about how they’re doing and asking to be left alone to continue their recoveries.
  • Finally, as was suggested by Marion Brooks [NBC 5 anchor during last night’s interview], it might forestall intrusion by the media and others who are seeking access or information.

As far as the “healing process” is concerned: No doubt, there’s a long way to go for each of the women involved. That said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with traumatic events and their consequences. The research in the area suggests that exposure-based intervention holds the greatest promise for clinical improvement. Confronting the situation as was done with this video appears to be a step in that direction.