Professor Neil Greenberg, March on Stress Director, was interviewed by The Times following the release of filmed “programmes” from John Cantlie, the British journalist and photographer who is being held hostage by Islamic State.
Professor Greenberg spoke about the vast range of emotions that are often adopted by hostages.
“When they are initially captured, they would experience feelings of shock, disorientation, anger and upset,” Professor Greenberg said.
“Some might isolate themselves and become distant, while others will try to do what their captors want them to do.”
Professor Greenberg said that in the video, John Cantlie did not “appear to be exhibiting signs of distress”.
He described the psychological phenomenon known as Stockholm syndrome as a “two-way street”, where the hostage and their captor develop a bond. “It is very important to hostages to make themselves of value to their captor. When people go through hostile environment training, you are taught to do this,” he said.
“But if the captor decides to let their hostage live, they may become very grateful and that relationship grows.”
Professor Greenberg said that it could also be possible that Cantlie’s video, called Lend Me Your Ears, was seen as his ticket to staying alive.
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