headshot of Patrick Dougherty M.A. L.P.

I believe that meaningful connection to others and social engagement combined, are the most effective ways to heal from social despair and collective trauma.

Patrick Dougherty, M.A., L.P.

Since returning from the war in Vietnam, I have been struggling to find answers to how the civilized world could let experiences like war continue to happen, knowing its traumatic impact on both civilians and soldiers. The questions of why collective trauma continues to happen and what we can do about it have driven much of my life.

One thing has become especially clear to me—if collective trauma, and the social despair that usually ensues, is not attended to and processed, it will always lead to more collective trauma and social despair.

My understanding has been developed through nearly 40 years of practice as a clinical psychologist, combined with an advanced understanding of neurobiology in the treatment of trauma through my study with Sharon Stanley and her model of Somatic Transformation.

I have also been a social activist for over four decades. I incorporate my 20 years of leading qigong healing meditation groups, and my decades of experience in many spiritual traditions using different healing techniques, to respond to the problems of social despair and collective trauma.

I believe in the inherent goodness of all people. I believe that if people knew the truth about the impacts of their choices, personally and collectively, they would make just and humane decisions. And I believe if people weren’t suffering from unprocessed social despair and collective trauma it would be much easier to make those decisions.

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