BLOG: Hope for Post-traumatic Growth

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. …

Trauma Recovery: Sessions With Dr. Matt will release in summer, 2018!

I am beyond thrilled to tell you that Trauma Recovery: Sessions With Dr. Matt, a creative non-fiction book written by Dr. Matt E. Jaremko and me, has found a publisher, Ayni Books. Our book should release in early summer, 2018. The best way to describe it to you is to borrow from our book proposal: …

Introduction to our book: Trauma Recovery: Sessions with Dr. Matt

For the past year, I have been collaborating with Beth Fehlbaum to write a book entitled: Trauma Recovery: Sessions with Dr. Matt. The first draft of this book is in the process of editorial submission and review but here we begin to discuss its purpose and anticipated impact. An overview of the book is provided …

Chapter 4 Playlist: The Values Vacuum

Oftentimes experiencing trauma is so overwhelming the victim loses sight of what is important and meaningful in life. So much time and energy is spent dealing with the negative symptoms and so much trust is lost that victims experience significant changes their beliefs. Whether it is a formerly spiritual person questioning the role of Providence or a returning military veteran realizing his/her patriotism was callously used by a political system; those who experience trauma often endure a “values vacuum.” Recovery goes much better if the trauma therapist addresses this changed belief system. One of the best ways to do that is to assist victims in clarifying their values and finding passion about life activities in which they can believe. This playlist is meant to illustrate a way forward in that values clarification process.

1. “Stuff That Works,” Guy Clark

One man’s view of what’s important to him; find the list of stuff you value so that you can reclaim your life.

2. “Caledonia,” Dougie MacLean

Most of us agree that having a safe home is highly valuable. It’s not surprising how many traumatized folks don’t feel a sense of ‘home.’ Recovery journeys  have a start and a destination. It usually feels like home. (Check out the version of this song by Celtic Woman, as well. It is breathtaking.)

3. “21 Guns,” Green Day

The effects of trauma will continue to control your life until you choose healing what hurts over trying to avoid it.

4. “True Sadness,” The Avett Brothers

Find affirmation that everyone is scarred in some way, and that hope and healing are possible when you acknowledge trauma and do the work to heal.

5. “Step by Step,” Chuck Pyle

The journey to healing is less daunting when done with others.

6. “Time of Your Life,” Green Day

Look upon the choices you make as forks in the road: which way will you go?

7. Missing in America (2005)

Movie about a Vietnam veteran lost in life after the horrors of war, until he finds value in his role caring for an orphaned child.

8. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014)

Movie in which Robin Williams plays an angry man who learns he will die in 90 minutes. This revelation sparks his desire to make things right with those he loves. Trauma can have a values-clarifying effect if you let it.

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