Little Book of Trauma Healing
eBook - ePub

Little Book of Trauma Healing

When Violence Striked And Community Security Is Threatened

Carolyn Yoder

Share book
  1. 90 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Little Book of Trauma Healing

When Violence Striked And Community Security Is Threatened

Carolyn Yoder

Book details
Book preview
Table of contents
Citations

About This Book

Following the staggering events of September 11, 2001, the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University was asked to help, along with Church World Service, to equip religious and civil leaders for dealing with traumatized communities. The staff and faculty proposed Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) programs. Now, STAR director, Carolyn Yoder, has shaped the strategies and learnings from those experiences into a book for all who have known terrorism and threatened security. A startlingly helpful approach. A title in The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series.

Frequently asked questions

How do I cancel my subscription?
Simply head over to the account section in settings and click on “Cancel Subscription” - it’s as simple as that. After you cancel, your membership will stay active for the remainder of the time you’ve paid for. Learn more here.
Can/how do I download books?
At the moment all of our mobile-responsive ePub books are available to download via the app. Most of our PDFs are also available to download and we're working on making the final remaining ones downloadable now. Learn more here.
What is the difference between the pricing plans?
Both plans give you full access to the library and all of Perlego’s features. The only differences are the price and subscription period: With the annual plan you’ll save around 30% compared to 12 months on the monthly plan.
What is Perlego?
We are an online textbook subscription service, where you can get access to an entire online library for less than the price of a single book per month. With over 1 million books across 1000+ topics, we’ve got you covered! Learn more here.
Do you support text-to-speech?
Look out for the read-aloud symbol on your next book to see if you can listen to it. The read-aloud tool reads text aloud for you, highlighting the text as it is being read. You can pause it, speed it up and slow it down. Learn more here.
Is Little Book of Trauma Healing an online PDF/ePUB?
Yes, you can access Little Book of Trauma Healing by Carolyn Yoder in PDF and/or ePUB format, as well as other popular books in Diritto & Strumenti alternativi per la risoluzione di controversie. We have over one million books available in our catalogue for you to explore.

Information

1.
Introduction
How can we effectively address the threat of terrorism?
What helps bring about long-term security?
What stops cycles of victimhood and violence?
And what does trauma have to do with all of this?
The last century may have been the most brutal in human history, measured by the number of people affected by violence. Early in the new millennium, hundreds of conflicts continue to rage across the planet. Yet as our fractured global family struggles to find answers, little is said about the links between trauma, security, and violence.
Trauma and violence are integrally linked.
Politicians, negotiators, peacebuilders, and the general public alike tend to think of trauma healing as soft, a warm fuzzy that has little or nothing to do with realpolitik and no role to play in reducing violence. Yet trauma and violence are integrally linked: violence often leads to trauma, and unhealed trauma, in turn, can lead to violence and further loss of security.
Trauma affects our very physiology, including our ability to do integrated, whole-brain thinking. John Gottman’s research on couples and predictors of marital success or failure has found that when our pulse raises as few as 10 beats above our usual baseline, the rational part of our brain begins slipping out of gear.1 We then begin talking, acting, and reacting from the lower part of our brain where our automatic survival instincts are located.
If this physiological change occurs over disagreements about who cleans up the kitchen, what happens when political debates rage, terrorists attack, or negotiators discuss disputed territory at a bargaining table? Understanding trauma—physiologically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually—may help to explain a wide range of phenomenon, including feelings of insecurity, loss of cultural identity, racism or extreme nationalism, and violence in general.
Trauma as a call to change and transformation
But there is another side to trauma. Indeed, the primary premise and challenge of this Little Book is that traumatic events and times have the potential to awaken the best of the human spirit and, indeed, the global family. This is not an automatic process, however. It requires that we acknowledge our own history and our enemy’s, search honestly for root causes, and shift our emphasis from national security to human security. At the core, it is spiritual work of the deepest sort, calling forth nothing less than the noblest ideals and the faith, hope, and resilience of the human spirit.
About this book
In the aftermath of events on September 11, 2001, The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at Eastern Mennonite University, and Church World Service, the relief and development agency of 38 religious groups, worked together to better equip religious and civil-society leaders for dealing with traumatic situations. One of the outcomes is a program called STAR—Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience—that brings together middle and grassroots leaders from areas of conflict in the United States and around the world for seminars that are both experiential and academic.
STAR integrates concepts from traditionally separate fields of study and practice: traumatology (including neurobiology), human security, restorative justice, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and faith/spirituality. Tying it all together is a three-part model called The Trauma Healing Journey: Breaking the Cycles of Victimhood and Violence.
We adapted this model from the work of the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, D.C., which with David Steele, Olga Botcharova, Barry Hart, and others conducted workshops in the former Yugoslavia in the late 1990s. We are indebted to them for their pioneering work.2
Change begins with me, with you, with us.
Obviously this approach goes beyond the traditional mental health medical model, which focuses on individual trauma. Instead, the primary emphasis is on communities and societies caught up in cycles of victimhood and/or violence, although many of the concepts are readily adaptable and applicable to individuals. Indeed, the STAR approach is based on helping people understand and heal from traumatic events, while helping to develop societal and structural responses that address the causes and consequences of conflict and violence. It explores how to think about and respond to traumatic events—including terrorism—so that communities do not get caught in a cycle of tit-for-tat violence or see themselves as perpetual victims.
Although the concepts explored here apply to a whole spectrum of traumatic events, STAR initially arose as a response to an act of terrorism. Later the model was adapted further to apply to natural disasters such as the tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The term “terrorism” is often used loosely, but according to Cunningham,3 it has four key elements:
1. It involves an act in which violence or force is used or threatened.
2. It is primarily a political act.
3. It is intended to cause fear or terror.
4. The goal is to achieve psychological effects and reactions.
Objectivity breaks down when talking about terrorism precisely because terrorist acts engender an emotionally charged trauma response in the victims, in their communities, and in those who sympathize with them.
This is not a book of answers but of information, ideas, theories, and questions emerging from our experiences. The question of how to work toward human security in these turbulent times without adding to the violence and trauma of our world is a huge topic without definitive answers. Sometimes it seems naive to address the question of security in the face of enormous problems. But change begins with me, with you, with us, as together we explore, observe, listen, imagine, pray, experiment, and learn.
2.
Defining Trauma: The Causes and Types
The tranquility of Lam Cosmas’ growing-up years in Northern Uganda was shattered in 1986 when rebels began raiding cattle and attacking unarmed civilians. Over the next years villages were sacked, crops burned, and men and women killed. Nighttime raids took boys as young as seven to be child soldiers and the girls to be “wives” to the rebels. Terrified, the villagers moved to the urban centers in droves where they continue to live crowded in camps for internally displaced persons, lacking in basic amenities.
image
On September 11, 2001, Marie Mitchell was at work in her California office when a neighbor called and told her to turn on the TV. As she watched the World Trade Towers go up in flames and then collapse, Marie slumped from her chair to the floor. Her 46-year-old brother was a firefighter in southern Manhattan. She knew Paul would be there.
image
Jinnah works long days to support his family as a rickshaw driver in the crowded streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He pedals his passengers in the heat of the dry season and through the warm monsoon rains that flood the streets. He works when he feels well and when has a fever, when he has eaten or when he is hungry. Two of his six children have died of diarrhea-related causes. He has given up hope of sending the surviving children to school: he cannot afford the fees for books and uniforms. Jinnah has stopped thinking about tomorrow.
image
A.L.M. Thaseem lost his wife and his two children in the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, which also destroyed his business and heavily damaged his house. New rules by the Sri Lankan government to discourage people from living near the sea mean he cannot rebuild his guest house business or repair his home, leaving him in limbo.4
The four vignettes above are quite different.5 But all result in some degree of trauma reaction for the individuals and the societies in which they occur.
In casual conversation, the word trauma is used to describe reactions to anything from a stressful day to a brutal murder. Indeed, both stress and trauma do affect individuals and groups physically, emotionally, cognitively, behaviorally, and spiritually. But traumatic events differ from ordinary stress in intensity and/or duration.
Traumatic events:
• Involve threats to lives or bodies.
• Produce terror and feelings of helplessness.
• Overwhelm an individual’s or group’s ability to cope or respond to the threat.
• Lead to a sense of loss of control.
• Challenge a person’s or group’s sense that life is meaningful and orderly.
Whether or not a situation is overwhelming cannot be determined by looking only at the events. What is merely stressful for one individual or group of people may be traumatic for another, depending on a combination of factors. These include age, previous history, degree of preparation, the meaning given to the event, how long it lasts, the quality of social support available, knowledge about how to deal with trauma, genetic makeup, and spiritual centeredness. Consequently, a traumatic reaction needs to be treated as valid, regardless of how the event that induced it appears to anyone else.
Traumas occur in a context, a social setting, with dynamic interactions between the individual and the surrounding society.6 The social conditions and meanings of an individual experience often cause or contribute to trauma.
For example, Kadzu has AIDS which she contracted from her husband, who had died a year earlier. She and her two sons live with her elderly widowed mother and are financially dependent on their extended family. Kadzu’s situation is impacted by the attitude of her family, community, and nation toward AIDS; by the resources available for prevention and treatment; and by the intellectual property rights, drug prices, and patents of multinational pharmaceutical companies. The latter, in turn, are affected by international trade agreements. Similarly, Lam’s and Jinnah’s trauma is induced by the social environment in which they live.
Ongoing and structurally-induced trauma
Not all trauma is induced by single dramatic events that are outside the normal range of human experience, such as a tornado or an accident or even the death of Marie’s brother in the World Trade Center. Trauma can be caused by living under abusive or unsafe conditions that are long-term and continuous. This is the case with the ongoing civil war in Lam’s story or the struggle to survive in Jinnah’s. Conditions that at one time were rare, such as muggings, rape, and gang activities, are now ordinary in many parts of the world. The constant possibility of death or injury in conflict zones, or where populations live under occupation and in fear of terrorism, are no less traumatic because they are routine. The ongoing violence of poverty and systems that make people unable to meet basic needs such as healthcare is called structural violence and is a cause of trauma. Often these structural-induced traumas go unnoticed until an event such as Hurricane Katrina graphically exposes what has existed all along.
Trauma may be induced by ongoing, ro...

Table of contents