The paradox of trauma is that it has both the power to destroy and the power to transform and resurrect’ – Peter A Levine,
Every one of us has experienced trauma in some form in our lives. The question is ‘do we let ourselves be defined by that trauma or can we transform that pain into a force that can accomplish good in our world?’
Dr. Randall Bell is an economist and sociologist who has seen firsthand the effects of trauma as a consultant on major disasters worldwide, including the largest climate, environmental and terrorist cases, such as Hurricane Katrina, the Bikini Atoll nuclear test site, and the 911 destruction of the World Trade Center. From these experiences and ten years of research, has come his book, Post–Traumatic Thriving: The Art, Science and Stories of Resilience.
His book relates stories of people who were able to use energy generated by working through their traumas to propel them to achieve great things. Dr. Bell sets out a three stage process (Dive, Survive and Thrive) through which survivors can emerge healed, whole and able to thrive.
The Dive phase is when the trauma is experienced and you go through the 5 stages of trauma: shock, denial, anger, bargaining and depression. This is the ‘sitting in the fire ‘ phase.
The Survive phase is going through the healing steps of confronting the trauma, sort out the issues, experiment, acceptance and awareness.
The final ‘Thrive’ phase is when you embrace faith, something outside of yourself, reach out for connections and then forgive, find resilience and find gratitude.
In ‘Post-Traumatic Thriving’ Dr. Bell expands on the phases of healing and shares some of the science underlying his approach.
The three key takeaways from his talk are:
1.Sit in the Fire. Share your story. Sit in the fire is where we have those ugly, embarrassing conversations about the trauma and, and it feels like you’re sitting in a fire because you’re burning up with emotion.
2.Grounding Yourself. This is the meditation, the deep breathing again, again very simple but effective
3.Understand that trauma happens to all of us. By college age 66 to 85%, of everyone is going to have experienced trauma. When you get older, it’s 100%. But there are healthy ways to deal with it and emerge stronger.
To Reach Dr. Bell
You will find the podcast episode Post=Traumatic Thriving here; Enjoy.