Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide

Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide

Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide

Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide

Synopsis

Race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, migration status, religion and many other cultural factors play an important role in recovery from a traumatic event. However, most conventional attempts to help people recover from trauma do not anticipate or address these factors. Here, a psychologist describes how to recognize the cultural issues that need to be considered for healing. She offers vignettes illustrating these issues, as well as activities for traumatized people to regain their sense of self-esteem, safety, strength and calm.

Excerpt

Thema Bryant-Davis gives us a look at trauma from the inside out in her excellent and victim-sensitive book Thriving in the Wake of Trauma. From the acknowledgments at the very beginning of the book, where she acknowledges the help she has received from specific victims of specific trauma, and throughout the book she brings the facts of trauma up close and personal to the reader. Many if not most readers will find themselves or people they know among the victims addressed in this book. The reader can expect to become personally engaged both in the trauma and in the recovery process, which is the book’s central theme.

She describes culture as “the answer” to the question of identity for all of us and particularly for those who have experienced trauma. The cultural context is described broadly to include disability, gender, migration status, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Cultural identity is defined orthogonally where each of us belongs to many different cultures at the same time, even though some may be more salient with regard to the experience of trauma at a given point in time. Culture is necessarily complex, and a simplistic understanding of culture is rejected, no matter how convenient that simplified version might seem. The cases of trauma might include physical, sexual, verbal, and/or emotional examples of assault to the victim. Trauma is also necessarily complex, and she rejects simplistic answers to the healing process of recovery from trauma.

Understanding the meaning of trauma in its cultural context is essential to recovery and the healing process she advocates. Trauma disempowers survivors, leaving them with a feeling of helplessness unless the survivor can be helped to recover. It is no surprise that so few books have avoided simplistic solutions regarding both trauma and culture. Thema’s book is a very personal . . .

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