Healing Collective Trauma Book Summary - Healing Collective Trauma Book explained in key points
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Healing Collective Trauma summary

Thomas Hübl

A Process for Integrating Our Intergenerational and Cultural Wounds

4.3 (105 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Healing Collective Trauma by Thomas Hübl explores the impact of collective trauma on society and offers practical tools and perspectives for healing and creating a more connected and compassionate world.

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    Healing Collective Trauma
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    Trauma impacts us mentally and physically

    Humans are powerfully resilient. Think about it – in the millions of years since we’ve been walking the earth, as a group we’ve overcome countless traumas: earthquakes, famines, wars, plagues. But just because we’re survivors, that doesn’t mean these traumas don’t also take a significant toll. Contemporary research into trauma uncovers just how lasting and damaging the effects of trauma can be when they’re left unaddressed. So, let’s take a brief look at how trauma works.

    After a traumatic event, we can become either hyperactive or hypoactive – in other words, we turn to the primal fight-flight response or we freeze. Following the event, our nervous systems will be impacted, distorting the ways we assimilate and process memories related to the event. What’s more, stimuli that mirror the event in any way – for example, flashing lights and loud noises recalling war zone conditions – can trigger mental and physical flashback. When traumatized individuals are allowed to process and heal from their traumas, they can successfully metabolize the traumatic events. When their trauma goes unacknowledged or untreated, they may experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

    People with PTSD can experience symptoms like anxiety, hypervigilance, and poor impulse control, and many others.

    A type-1 trauma is a one-off event. A type-2, or “complex” trauma, is actually a series of ongoing traumatic events – a victim of chronic child abuse or domestic violence, for example, experiences complex trauma.

    Trauma, and especially complex trauma, that occurs during childhood can have particularly severe effects. These traumas, that occur when the brain is still developing, can hinder healthy psychosocial development. Child victims of complex trauma may have difficulty forming healthy attachments, self-soothing, regulating their emotions, tolerating stress, and using their executive function, among a host of other potential difficulties.

    Many of the debilitating symptoms trauma-sufferers experience actually have a valid evolutionary function. A soldier who experiences hyper-vigilance after active duty may find themselves irritable and depleted from the vast reserves of energy required to maintain this state of heightened alertness at all times. By the same token, on the battlefield, where every stray sound or flicker of movement represents a real threat, hypervigilance is crucial for survival. The body intends this hypervigilance to be a lifesaving strategy. So, while the negative symptoms of trauma are felt in the mind and the body, these symptoms derive from our hardwired drive to survive and overcome.

    Trauma can’t be eradicated. It’s part of our universe. It’s part of us. The challenge isn’t to let the darkness of trauma consume our present and blot out our vision for the future, rather to learn to accept this darkness and synthesize it into a transformative force. We can begin by supplementing our scientific understanding of trauma with a more spiritual perspective which we’ll explore in the next section.

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    What is Healing Collective Trauma about?

    Healing Collective Trauma (2020) examines how trauma can be shared between individuals and across generations. Drawing on contemporary trauma research and ancient traditions of mysticism, it proposes a framework for recognizing and healing these collective traumas.

    Who should read Healing Collective Trauma?

    • Therapists and healers working with traumatized groups
    • Community activists negotiating the effects of collective trauma in their work
    • Anyone who has lived through or is trying to support someone through trauma

    About the Author

    Thomas Hübl is a teacher, writer, the leader of the Collective Trauma summit, and the founder of the Academy of Inner Science. His other works include Attuned and Sharing the Presence.

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