Collective Trauma, Collective Healing

Jack Saul’s Collective Trauma and Collective Healing aims to give health professionals – and anyone really – an insight into how to create community based assistance programs after traumatic events. Since I work in the English education field, it’s a little outside of my area of specialization. Yet, I read this on the sheer respect and admiration other professions in the field seem to have for him. He seems to really know his craft. Psychology theory is easily examined by English literary intellectuals, but the application of it for wide-scale use – rather than only individualized therapeutic sessions – is a different conundrum requiring a unique eye.

The original goals that led to reading this book were (1) learn more about its potential application in bibliotherapy, the use of literature as a psychological tool, and (2) survey the psychology books from published from the 1990’s to 2000’s. Collective Trauma, Collective Healing is a guide for mental health professionals that breaks down the steps and methodology for creating community based programs to build resilience and coping skills among populations struggling due to political and other types of violence. The real-world examples he gives in his books are the mental health response programs established as a result of major catastrophes like 9/11, the Holocaust, Kosovo’s political conflicts, and the Liberian civil war.

I had the pleasure of attending a conference hosted and produced Thomas Hübl which had Jack Saul as a speaker recently on healing collective trauma. It’s my personal opinion that many professions would benefit from incorporating some of the strategies he argues for in their offices, classrooms, and work. I’ve experienced a succession of traumatic events in my life: family domestic violence, sexual abuse, the death of my father, mental health struggles, and PCOS. The one healing tip that I can give and which this book confirms is that art – our artistic endeavors – are the key to healing wounds, from literature to painting, and theater to music, and dance to anything else that lights you up inside.


Work Cited

Saul, Jack. Collective Trauma, Collective Healing, Routledge, 2013.

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2 thoughts on “Collective Trauma, Collective Healing

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