BLOG: Hope for Post-traumatic Growth

What Trauma Recovery Does to Your Close Relationships

By Beth Fehlbaum, Matt E. Jaremko, and guest contributors Preface Beth Fehlbaum and Matt E. Jaremko, co-authors of the forthcoming book, Trauma Recovery: Sessions With Dr. Matt, address some of what happens to folks as they go through trauma recovery. In this installment, Matt and Beth discuss what can and does happen to the relationships …

How Does One Identify an Experience as a Trauma?

By Matt E. Jaremko and Beth Fehlbaum Our title might sound somewhat nonsensical. Of course, if you have experienced a trauma, you will know it. However, admitting that you have experienced trauma may not be as straightforward as you might think. Folks can tend to underplay the extent to which they deserve care and attention. …

Giving Thanks for the Opportunity to Share a Message of Hope and Resilience with Trauma Survivors

Something I’m thankful for: my writing partner and the book we wrote together. I’m sharing the cover with you. It’s the first time it’s been posted publicly. My co-author, Matt, and I really like this cover because of the light coming into the group therapy circle: providing the light of hope in the face of …

Being Tender yet Tough with Veterans

As any subgroup of Americans, military veterans cover a wide spectrum of personality types and pre-service adjustment history. While there is almost universal agreement that veterans should be honored for serving, across the board admiration without constructive criticism may be unwise. Not every hero acts heroically all the time. Sometimes folks with adjustment difficulties need …

Perseverence + Resilience + Patience = Hope for Recovery

I sometimes say that my middle name is “Perseverence.” It could also be said that Resilience runs through my veins, which is, in part, why writing a book with Matt E. Jaremko–Trauma Recovery: Sessions With Dr. Matt: Narratives of Hope and Resilience for Victims of PTSD–is so gratifying, because it will help SO MANY PEOPLE. …

Chapter 3 Playlist: A Matter of Avoidance But Approach Still Matters

We are trying to make the point that PTSD is a disorder of being stuck in an imbalance between energy devoted to avoiding the unpleasantry of life after trauma and energy devoted to approaching valued and meaningful life activity. Excessive reliance on avoiding or escaping pain and hurt usually results in more unpleasntry (after only brief periods of escape from the negative). Appreciating the shortsightedness of this negative approach to life is a crucial step in recovery from trauma-interrupted life. These songs and films may help you think about and feel this imbaalnce in a more vivid way.

1. Everyday Now, Chuck Pyle

When people delay the hard work in a relationship, not much good happens.

2. Late for the Sky, Jackson Browne

Realizing one’s old ways are not working anymore is profoundly sad, if you allow yourself to truly face it. From that place there is nowhere else to go…but up.

3. Heaven Is So High and I’m So Far Down, Pat Wictor

An ex-seventh-grade teacher from New York City writes about how far away a better life can feel. Great slide guitar work included.

4. “Mercy Now,” Mary Gauthier

Maybe mercy can be manufactured, using the right procedures. Go on, get unstuck, and get some.

5. “Victims of Life,” The Avett Brothers

It is vital to recognize that what one is doing could be making one’s life worse. Then life can become dedicating efforts to changing one’s approach to it.

6. “No Hard Feelings,” The Avett Brothers 

Inner peace is possible to achieve.

7. “Break in the Cup,” David Wilcox

It is not possible to “fix” another person. Each has to take control of their own recovery.

8. Reign Over Me (2007)

Movie about a man traumatized by his family’s death on 9/11. His only way back is by facing the truth.

9. An Unfinished Life (2005)

Movie about a father traumatized by his son’s death who is stuck in blame. But even as buried anger and accusations resurface, the way is opened for unexpected connection, adventure, and forgiveness. Moving portrayal of how life without values is empty but becomes overflowing when meaning and purpose is discovered.


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