Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Healing in Forgiveness: A Discussion with Amanda Lindhout and Katherine Porterfield, PhD

Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Healing in Forgiveness: A Discussion with Amanda Lindhout and Katherine Porterfield, PhD

Article excerpt

RESILIENCE AND TRAUMA

Healing in forgiveness: A discussion with Amanda Lindhout and Katherine Porterfield, PhD

Katherine A. Porterfield1* and Amanda Lindhout2

1Department of Psychiatry, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA; 2The Global Enrichment Foundation, Canmore, AB, Canada

Abstract

In 2008, Amanda Lindhout was kidnapped by a group of extremists while traveling as a freelance journalist in Somalia. She and a colleague were held captive for more than 15 months, released only after their families paid a ransom. In this interview, Amanda discusses her experiences in captivity and her ongoing recovery from this experience with Katherine Porterfield, Ph.D. a clinical psychologist at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. Specifically, Amanda describes the childhood experiences that shaped her thirst for travel and knowledge, the conditions of her kidnapping, and her experiences after she was released from captivity. Amanda outlines the techniques that she employed to survive in the early aftermath of her capture, and how these coping strategies changed as her captivity lengthened. She reflects on her transition home, her recovery process, and her experiences with mental health professionals. Amanda's insights provide an example of resilience in the face of severe, extended trauma to researchers, clinicians, and survivors alike. The article ends with an discussion of the ways that Amanda's coping strategies and recovery process are consistent with existing resilience literature. Amanda's experiences as a hostage, her astonishing struggle for physical and mental survival, and her life after being freed are documented in her book, co-authored with Sara Corbett, A House in the Sky .

Keywords: trauma recovery; resilience; forgiveness; trauma treatment

*Correspondence to: Katherine A. Porterfield, Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, Bellevue Hospital, CD 732, 462 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA, Email: survivorsoftorture.org

For the abstract or full text in other languages, please see Supplementary files under Article Tools online

This paper is part of the Special Issue: Resilience and Trauma . More papers from this issue can be found at http://www.eurojnlofpsychotraumatol.net

Received: 19 March 2014; Revised: 26 June 2014; Accepted: 1 July 2014; Published: 1 October 2014

European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2014. © 2014 Katherine A. Porterfield and Amanda Lindhout. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given, that a link to the license is provided, and that you indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Citation: European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2014, 5 : 24390 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v5.24390

Below, Amanda speaks about her recovery from her captivity in Somalia with Dr. Katherine Porterfield, a clinical psychologist at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.

In A House in the Sky, you describe yourself before your kidnapping in Somalia as a young woman who was hungry to travel the world and make a difference in some way. For those of us who treat survivors of violence, it is essential to understand the whole person, not just the person who got hurt--the "victim." Sometimes that means going back and awakening the part of the person that was present before these events, so that he or she can access strengths and the sense of self that is fundamentally still there, though changed in some profound ways. …

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