Our Nervous System Never Experiences Secondary Trauma: It is always Primary

Our Nervous System Never Experiences Secondary Trauma: It is always Primary
How to reduce the personal cost of our work helping those suffering from collective trauma.

Our nervous systems cannot understand our minds’ belief that we are experiencing “secondary” trauma. We tell ourselves it is secondary because the people we are working with have experienced a trauma that is direct to them, and because we are working with them it then indirectly affects us. But the nervous system doesn’t care about our rationalizing.

When we have heard enough stories from the refugees we work with who have fled their troubled … Read More

Healing Unprocessed Collective Trauma

This is a webinar I did on Nov 7, 2018, for a great group called Psychology for Peacebuilding (find them on FB). Here is how it was posted.

Healing Unprocessed Collective Trauma, Nov 7, 2018, for Psychology of Peacebuilding (FB)

Patrick Dougherty, M.A., L.P. is a licensed psychologist with 40 years of clinical work and social activism. He is part of an international group working with and developing models dealing with collective trauma. (www.pocketproject.org) He is a former US Marine who served in Vietnam and is leading a group specifically working with the collective trauma of armed violence, genocide and … Read More

Our Bodies Were Not Designed To Process Social Despair and Collective Trauma Alone

Patrick Dougherty, M.A., L.P. October 16, 2018

Many of us are experiencing an overwhelming amount of collective turmoil, chaos and trauma in the world today and are feeling adrift when trying to figure out how to cope with it all. For some of us, the social fabric that held us together feels like it is being torn apart, more and more every week. Old patterns and structures of power and oppression many of us thought were dying, have shown themselves not just to be alive, but to be growing.
Certainly, most of us don’t know what to do when the … Read More

Therapist Peer Groups – The “Emotional Lifeboat – Self-care isn’t always enough

One morning, a few days after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, a female client left me a voicemail just minutes before her 8 a.m. appointment. Her voice shook as she struggled to speak. An hour earlier, her son had showed her pictures on Twitter of a classmate posing with an assault rifle. The day before, this classmate had been beaten up for mocking students who cried after hearing about the Parkland attack. “I might be a little late to our appointment,” she said. “I’ve already spoken about this with the police, and I’m waiting for a call back from … Read More

Reducing the stress for those who work with personal and collective trauma

April 20, 2018
movingthroughit.org

There is no such thing as “secondary trauma” to the nervous system. We use that term to help us know that the impact of working with traumatized people can be overwhelmingly stressful and needs our attention. And when you work with groups of people suffering from any form of collective trauma, such as battered women, refugees, the homeless, those displaced by war, etc., your own nervous system can easily feel not just stressed, but traumatized.

When working with these populations it is normal at times to feel overwhelmed, anxious, angry, hopeless or dissociated. These are all … Read More

Who Carries the Collective Trauma of War

Although I have been studying, teaching and writing about collective trauma for many years, I had a breakthrough of understanding recently. In June, I joined a group of 150 people from 39 countries who traveled all the way to Israel to begin a deep and rich training about Collective Trauma (CT) and its impact on our social psychology.

And I learned some things I think I had to leave the country to see more clearly. Namely, the extent of the Collective Trauma of war in the US and its impact on our veterans, me being one of them. I also … Read More