At the annual workshop of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network in December, I gave a short presentation titled “My New Year’s Resolution: Becoming a Trauma-Informed Human Being,” expanding on commentary here concerning the importance of becoming knowledgeable about the dynamics and effects of psychological trauma. I identified at least three roles that, for me, necessitate this course of learning:
- Vocational/avocational – Understanding psychological trauma as a scholar, teacher, practitioner, advocate, and activist concerning workplace bullying and human dignity in general;
- Friends/family/acquaintances — Being a better source of support to those close to me who have experienced psychological trauma; and,
- Citizen and human being — Understanding how psychological trauma impacts millions of people around the world.
I also suggested several books that are helpful for anyone who wants to learn about psychological trauma and related issues. I’ll be spending time with each of them and others during the coming year:
- Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma (2014);
- Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terrorism (2015 ed.);
- David J. Morris, The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (2015);
- Christina Robb, This Changes Everything: The Relational Revolution in Psychology (2006); and,
- Evelin Lindner, Emotion and Conflict: How Human Rights Can Dignify Emotion and Help Us Wage Good Conflict (2009).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is perhaps the most severe manifestation of psychological trauma. For those who would like to read an informative piece about the history of PTSD, as it developed largely in the context of psychological trauma experienced by soldiers exposed to combat, this 2015 Vanity Fair piece by Sebastian Junger, “How PTSD Became a Problem Far Beyond the Battlefield,” is very informative.