What are we supposed to say when a far away tragedy occurs? Does it matter if it was a natural disaster or an act of terror? If the victims were random versus extra vulnerable (like children) or minorities, like the most recent Pulse shooting? I don’t know what your social media feeds look like but responding to a tragic event in a sensitive way can be really difficult. When someone “stands with France,” others jump on them for ignoring Syria. When some people expressed outrage over police shootings of unarmed African Americans, they were called out for drawing attention to their own feelings. Certainly there are some really insensitive ways to react to a tragedy*. So, assuming they don’t want to offend anyone, does that mean that people who aren’t a member of the oppressed group that was targeted should not participate in mourning on social media? But then silence is sometimes perceived as being dismissive toward the victims’ community.
This is a love letter for those who don't fit in "the box." You count. Even though partnering up is the “next stage” and it is a sign that you are acceptable and stable and mature, you can still be those things without being in a long-term, cohabitating monogamous relationship.
After several months away from a reliable internet connection, and sometimes electricity and therefore my blog, I am back. As I write this first post saying “hello” again, saying, “I am so excited to be back in so many different ways,” I am also grieving. As Semisonic sang almost 20 years ago, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” I re-begin my blog and my life in the United States only by ending and leaving many people who I loved in Ghana. Many readers are familiar with the Holmes-Raye Life Stress Inventory. The inventory was designed to predict the chance of a health breakdown based on the quantity and quality of stressors from the past year. It can be surprising to see how many of the stressors are things that are generally considered positive: marriage, gaining a new family member, taking on a new mortgage, outstanding personal achievement. The fact is that even positive change is change, and it requires adjustment. We are built for routine and sameness. Even people who crave change and chases stimulation have to adjust to new routines and new ways of doing things. Here are five things to know about facing a major life change:
Change. Loss. A Slump. Trauma. There’s a lot of ways to get thrown off balance and feel like you’ll never get up. We often think that healing will bring back our equilibrium but sometimes, in order to heal, we need to get some equilibrium first. I know a lot of people who spend all their time acting like they’re feeling great when they’re not, and that’s a terrible way to live. I’m not talking about a permanent move toward acting like things are perfect. I’m not talking about lying to yourself or anyone else when things are really tough right now. I’m talking about setting into motion a habit of functioning as though the world is still turning. It’s really the sort of thing people mean when they talk about putting one foot in front of the other. So here are three steps to get your started.
Last week I wrote that it was After Trauma’s two year anniversary. That’s a long time in the life of a blog, and also for trauma work. The previous post celebrated the top 5 most liked posts. This post is the five posts that I’m most proud of (excluding the ones from last week), and that didn’t get the attention I thought they deserved.
Posts I think You’ll Enjoy5 Types of Book Resources That Can Help
After Trauma started 2 years ago. Since the last anniversary, I left DC Rape Crisis Center, moved to Ghana and started working with children and adults who have developmental disabilities. In the next year, I plan to move back to Washington, DC and resume private practice with adults who have complex trauma. That’s a lot of change! And as I grow as a clinician and a human being, I hope that After Trauma continues to deepen and grow as well. To honor this occasion and the commitment it takes to continue a blog for two years, here is a review of this year’s most popular posts. Next week, I’ll share some of my favorite posts that you might have missed.
Top PostsInfertility is Trauma, Physical and Emotional
In a previous post, I discussed the development of my therapist toolbox, and how many therapists gradually integrate complementary skills that they can use with many different clients. Today, I want to go deeper where this knowledge is and how do people get it. This is both for new therapists, but also clients who want a clearer picture on therapist training, and so they can ask their therapist what they mean if they say they have trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, for example.
I once met an art therapist who was providing individual therapy for PTSD and had just learned what a flashback was—from the client she was treating. Yet therapist can also mean licensed clinician with years of training and supervision. Meanwhile a good friend of mine just became a coach after years of rigorous coursework and consultation—and this on top of the fact that she’s a licensed professional counselor. (Denver peeps check her out). But there are other life coaches with only a few hours of training. Obviously, "therapist" and "coach" can mean a lot of different things. Here’s your guide to sorting out the highly trained professionals from the unqualified hacks (or to prevent you from accidentally paying money to a hack-creating organization when you’re trying to become a qualified professional!).