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
Author: Patrick Dougherty
April 20, 2018
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
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
(Originally published in thesaltcollective.org on June 13, 2017)
Already, 2017 has been an extraordinarily difficult year for liberals and progressives. In my practice as a psychologist I have talked with people who are experiencing everything from outrage to dazed disbelief. Myself, I vacillate between the two.
On the basis of these conversations I believe many of us are experiencing what psychologists call Collective Trauma. The technical definition of collective trauma is a blow to the basic tissue of social life that damages the bonds attaching people to one another and impairs the prevailing sense of community.
For the last few … Read More
Here are 6 Critical Elements of Healing. The ritual is simple once you understand their nuances.
The primary component for helping social despair and collective trauma move through you is a meaningful connection to others. That connection can be to your loved ones, to a group or community you feel part of, to your god, to beauty, to something that is outside of you that opens your emotional heart and leaves you with a sense of connectedness. And by meaningful I mean a connection that touches your heart in a way that makes you feel … Read More
This is one simple way to help you begin to move through social despair and collective trauma. While this is written in the most direct and simple way possible, it is very nuanced, with layers of complexity, and if you use it, try to give yourself time to feel into it and try and understand it as best you can. Then please adapt it in any way that works for you.
Step 1: Physical Posture
Sit comfortably, drop your consciousness into your body by becoming aware of the volume of your body, your breathing and any sensations you are … Read More