This article compares the experience of people working in the area of the World Trade Centers (WTC) on September 11th to the experience of refugees. The refugee model provides a better description of survivors' experience than a diagnostic model. The author's service provision for an organization adjacent to the WTC after September 11th serves as a basis for suggesting this alternative perspective. Positive and negative aspects of diagnosing victims of disasters are discussed both in general and specifically related to post-traumatic stress disorder. Information regarding the refugee experience is presented and related to the experience of WTC survivors. Implications for framing the treatment process in similar disasters are suggested.

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