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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 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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