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Abstract

Living with Vulnerability and Resiliency: the Psychological Experience of Collective Trauma

Large-scale disasters often induce a chain of psychological phenomena that have direct impact on a person’s physiological condition, psychological state, functional capacity, interpersonal relationships, communal involvement and spiritual beliefs. Psychological knowledge about the emotional experience, process and impact of responding to a national-scale traumatic event such as the devastated earthquakes, floods, fires, viral outbreaks and terrorist attacks over the globe is often confusing if not overwhelming. Applying over two decades of clinical experience in working closely with the psychologically wounded, the author hereby seeks to deconstruct and introduce a practical model of the Psychological Process of Collective Trauma, accompanied by a novel model of the Resiliency Process of Collective Trauma. To put these two models that essentially illustrate ones’ internal state of vulnerability and resiliency, a general understanding of the long-term effects of primary trauma, secondary trauma, retraumatization and multitude grieving is crucial. This report aims to present a simply and clear framework of psychological recovery that can be applied across disciplines in the case of disaster work and the aftercare mental health services. Above all, the learned lesson that the author is humbly sharing is: Being weak is strong, being strong is weak, and being both is needed.


Author(s):

Kay Chang



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