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Understanding Social Trauma

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

What is social trauma and what can be done about it.

"The only justice is to follow the sincere intuition of the soul, angry or gentle. Anger is just, and pity is just, but judgment is never just."

-- D. H. Lawrence

All things being equal, we would all have the same opportunities to live where we want, pray how we want, love who we want, and work where we want. Unfortunately, this is not the world that we live in. There are people and circumstances that make it difficult for that equality to happen. When this occurs, how are we to handle the reality of the situation?

What I do in my practice is to help build up an individual's resilience to disruptive life events. The recent year's events, such as the divisive elections, the pandemic, shootings of unarmed black men across the country, and violent protests over the Standing Rock pipeline in Dakota, have caused many to test those resiliency skills. For those struggling with these and many other social issues, I would suggest the following activities to help when dealing with a traumatic experience:

  1. Journal your thoughts and feelings. This helps to get your thoughts out in an organized way, and to express yourself by "getting out of your own head". The journal can be kept for yourself or shared with someone you trust.

  2. Build up your support system. This includes your social, spiritual and familial supports.

  3. Strengthen your self-esteem. In other words, encourage your strong sense of self worth by identifying your strengths.

  4. Seek out experiences of positive change. There are many examples throughout history of societies that have thrived despite their leadership.

  5. Participate in social justice-focused organizations and events. Putting that negative energy towards something positive or progressive may help in feeling like you are "doing something" about the issue.

This is not, by far, an exhaustive list, but it does get you started on the road to dealing with trauma in a more positive way. Dr. Makida Bey specifically uses a strengths-based approach to building up one's resilience to life's stressors. Feel free to contact me for a free consultation if you need additional help.

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