Monday, December 6, 2021

Overcoming Trauma

Today in the Wall Street Journal Carol Tavris has reviewed the latest in psychological resilience theory. I myself posted on George Bonanno’s book two months ago, so I will not go back over the major points.

I merely wish to extract a paragraph from the Tavris review. In it she notes that most people recover from trauma without therapy. The point is often ignored, but it deserves to be emphasized:

For decades, Mr. Bonanno has studied the side of trauma usually blocked from public view: the repeatedly validated discovery that the great majority of people who undergo a traumatic experience—9/11, devastating grief, violent encounters, natural disasters—recover over time, without therapy. They certainly have short-term distress, and this makes them feel frightened and vulnerable, but over time these strong emotions subside. These individuals, by definition, are not seen by therapists, who thus incorrectly conclude that where there is grief, trauma and loss, almost everyone will need help to recover. Therapists are blind to the default human response: resilience.

Of course, one might ask whether therapists have a vested interest in downplaying the role of resilience. One might ask whether they insist that the human mind can never heal from trauma without therapy because they have an interest in making people into permanent patients. 

In a way, that’s what this blog is all about.


Yet another Stuart said...

I think resilience is the result of strength plus optionality, i.e the ability to recognize and make choices.

It's true at the national, regional, local and individual level.

By not getting therapy the individuals demonstrate both elements.

Sam L. said...

One has to strengthen one's mind and body, and convince yourself you will overcome.