About the Author

 

To make things less tense, less hostile, and less dangerous...ease the stress.

 

John D. Weaver, LCSW, BCD, ACSW is a founding partner of EYE OF THE STORM, Inc. (Nazareth, PA), a company that provides private mental health consultation and training services. The firm specializes in disaster mental health, crisis intervention, and risk management related training and support. He also works as a part-time therapist for Olivewood Counseling (Bethlehem, PA).  He previously worked as a Casework Supervisor and the Disaster Crisis Outreach and Referral Team Coordinator for Northampton County Mental Health (Bethlehem, PA) and as a therapist at Concern Counseling (Bethlehem, PA).  He has served as a member of the Adjunct Faculty for DeSales University’s ACCESS program (Center Valley, PA), Marywood University’s Graduate School of Social Work (Lehigh Valley, PA), and the Psychology Department of Northampton Community College (Bethlehem, PA). In addition to his direct-service work, Weaver served as a DMH consultant to Operation Help — the FEMA crisis counseling grant program in PA resulting from the January '96 blizzard and subsequent flooding (FEMA-1093-DR).

Weaver received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA and his Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Throughout his career he has written many articles, several chapters, and three books. He served as an expert reviewer for a crisis management guide for schools. Weaver frequently is invited to present seminars and papers at national conferences in social work (including NASW '90 in Boston, '95 in Philadelphia, and '96 in Cleveland), psychology (APA '95 in New York), counseling (ACA '96 in Pittsburgh and '97 in Orlando), and nursing (ACAPN '97 in Philadelphia). He has been an active volunteer with several organizations including the Mental Health Association and the American Red Cross (ARC). He has assisted ARC at several local and national disasters including service during the Great Mississippi River/Midwest Floods of 1993, coordinating DMH activities with morgue volunteers following the 1994 airline crash in Pittsburgh, and service with the ARC team at the 1996 plane crash in the Everglades, near Miami.  More recently, he served as Coordinator of the ARC AIR Team’s Family Assistance Center following the 9/11/01 terrorist incident that led to the crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA and then served as an Assistant Officer helping manage the larger World Trade Center relief operation in NY City.  In recognition of his service to the organization, ARC has presented him a Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership.

It can't all be work, though. What does a crisis worker / disaster volunteer do to unwind? Tooling around town in his convertible with its DMH message license plate (see photo) and kayaking with friends helps. So does having fun with a supportive family. Weaver's wife, Denise, and his two children, Scott and Kelly, are extremely tolerant of the time he spends on the road, working or volunteering.  In fact, their enduring patience was further tested, and again they were very supportive, as he spent several months at his computer working on his books. He is donating half of his royalties from the DMH book to the American Red Cross - National Disaster Relief Fund and his publisher, Larry Ritt of Professional Resource Press, is matching his donation.

My disaster assignments have all been extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally. If you decide to give it a try, I’m sure you’ll be hooked as I have been. But, even if you have no interest in serving in a disaster, I can assure you that learning some DMH techniques can help you to address the many day-to-day crises that enter our personal and professional lives. Whenever clients, coworkers, and friends find themselves struggling with the loss of loved ones, crime victimization, job-related stress, or other traumatic events, psychological first aid can provide some relief.
— John Weaver