rumination Articles

Important Validation for the Aftermath of Adult Trauma

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Many people face a traumatic event in adult life. Be it a serious car accident, combat, rape, a natural disaster or the loss of a child, people are often confronted with a horrific event that threatens death or serious injury to themselves or someone else, or involves the traumatic loss of a friend or loved one.

While such trauma is in itself physically and emotionally assaultive, trauma theorist Robert Stolorow proposes that beyond the actual event, it is the emotions suffered after the event that become the unbearable emotional pain of trauma.

  • Difficult to articulate and unrecognized by many, the emotional aftermath of adult trauma often goes unvalidated and unhealed.
  • Drawing upon his own traumatic loss of a young wife, Stolorow reports that in the unreal time that stretches slowly after a trauma, there is an “excruciating sense” of being outside normal life, alone with feelings that no one else can understand.

Stolorow’s contribution to the field is his articulation of these feelings in a way that becomes an invaluable resource for validation.


Worrying Can Be Hazardous to You and Your Relationship

Monday, April 26th, 2010

If you are human, you know about worry.  Worry is the state of negative thinking we engage in when we are faced with a real or anticipated threat. It’s the “thinking” component of the physical heart racing and sweaty palms that make up anxiety:  “What if I get laid off?”, “Why did he say he was just too tired to make love?”, “How will I tell my wife I want the transfer?”, “ What if I miss my plane?”

Whereas a certain degree of worry can cause us to problem solve, ask for help, change behavior patterns, even enhance our attention to partners, excessive worry burdens us personally and interpersonally. In his book, Worry , psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, suggests that as compared to  “good worry” that leads to constructive action, “ toxic worry” can paralyze us.


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Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP & Dianne Kane, DSW are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Pick up the book today!

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