The man to call after major disaster strikes

A Drink With -- George Everly

December 11, 2005

Clinical psychologist and Loyola College professor George Everly, 55, is an authority on human stress and psychological trauma. He co-founded the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, based in Columbia, which holds the bi- annual World Congress on Stress, Trauma and Coping in Baltimore. We talked with him in the Harbor Court Hotel's Explorers Lounge.

Would you like to know about my drink?


This may be the oldest drink in the world. ... As far as I know, the oldest known book on how to mix drinks is How to Mix Drinks, published in 1862. There are less than a dozen cocktails in it and this is the only one you'd recognize today. It's really simple. Champagne, sugar and angostura bitters. The deep red color of this one reflects triple bitters, which is what I like.

You specialize in disaster mental health. That means ... ?

I study the psychological consequences of mass disasters and I try to develop assessments and interventions that would be appropriate for that setting. My first disaster was Three Mile Island in 1979. I was asked by the state of Pennsylvania to teach stress management to some Three Mile employees. It showed me the many ways that the psychological effects can be more potent than physical.

Where else have you been called to work?

In Kuwait, to assist in building the mental health system after the Gulf War. I stayed as an adviser there for 10 years. In the Oklahoma City bombing, I was asked to work with firefighters. After 9 / 11, I worked with New York City police, Port Authority police and New Jersey state police. Then, in 2003, I went to Hong Kong for SARS. ... I've worked in 22 countries so far.

This is a pretty emotionally heavy job. What do you do to have fun?

I took up golf three years ago. And it's comedic!

Any guilty pleasures?

Chocolate. Are you kidding?! I'm a chocoholic! Sometimes, when I'm traveling, if I order room service, I'll order chocolate ice cream. They bring me a pint and I eat the whole thing because it's a sin to waste Haagen-Dazs! I sometimes set it up as if it's two orders. Chocolate is a good coping mechanism. It goes well with champagne cocktails.


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