Mary Jo Lagoski

Mary Jo Lagoski is a private practice psychotherapist in Kingwood, where she has lived for the past thirty years. Lagoski’s home did not suffer damages from Harvey, but she details other aspects of her experience with the hurricane. After hearing news channels announce the opening of Conroe’s flood gates to prevent severe flooding from Harvey, Lagoski and her family packed plastic bags of clothes, money, jewelry, etc., for a quick evacuation if needed.

The following day, Lagoski awoke to a completely dry street – causing a blindsided reaction when turning on the news and hearing of the extensive flooding accounts. Lagoski recalls a feeling of guilt upon seeing the damages others suffered, instilling a desire to help. Unfortunately, she could not leave her house due to road blockages and precautions. Once those barriers were removed, Lagoski volunteered at her church, helping with clothing and food banks for three weeks post-Harvey. She conducted training to help the volunteers understand how to talk to those traumatized by the devastation. When comparing Harvey to past hurricanes and tropical storms, Lagoski revealed the extent of the flooding caused by Harvey and widespread community support. Lagoski touches briefly on how technology helped connect communities. Upon reflecting on the first anniversary of Harvey, Lagoski believes those who did not experience flooding do not want to think of the storm, and those who did suffer consequences are tired of thinking of the hurricane. However, the shared experience did create a wider sense of community kindness and a greater willingness to help others. Lagoski also mentioned in some of her patients she has seen a sense of panic whenever it rains because it triggers memories of Harvey’s trauma, but she believes five years post-Harvey will see the fears subside.