Mr. Blanchard wrote this book for his fellow health care professionals, including psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers, who work in the trauma field. Helping professionals know that trauma victims need more than pep talks or cheerleading. They benefit most from solid information, clear guidelines, and real life examples of people who have blossomed into their best selves following excruciating physical and/or emotional pain. In short, what they need from health care professionals is the guidance that will help them make the most out of trying times, a template that can turn adversity into opportunity while steering their lives in the direction of deeper meaning and inner strength.
The trajectory of a trauma victim’s life is determined not by the traumatic event itself, but by the victim’s response to it. The victim’s response, in turn, is strongly affected by his or her social environment. This book examines trauma from a new and encouraging perspective, one that suggests that post-traumatic growth (PTG) and even thriving are possible after experiencing tragic events. People who experienced PTG reported positive change in five areas: they had a renewed appreciation for life; they found new possibilities for themselves; they felt more personal strength; their relationships improved; and they felt more spiritually satisfied.
While the book is written primarily for health care professionals, all who are providing support to a survivor of any age will find the empirical evidence, practical guidance, anecdotes and case studies helpful as they gently guide the person toward the resilient response necessary for successfully integrating the the traumatic experience and growing, even thriving, after it. If you’re the friend, loved one or mental healthcare provider for a veteran, Transcending Trauma is must reading.
As you read this book, prepare to sit with some new and invigorating concepts that expand the prevailing PTSD paradigm.
Comments about the Kindle edition available on Amazon:
“As a recent trauma survivor and a teacher, I have found this book insightful and tangible for both myself and my students. Its message of Post Traumatic Growth brought hope to tough days and reminded me of the importance to recognize what has happened to me and sit with the pain, as of the equal importance to ask the follow up question: ‘What can I do about it?'”
“I really appreciate how the author does not see negative emotions as something to avoid but instead as something that provides us valuable information for positive change. I am very interested in reading his other books!”
“In a society that too readily considers trauma the endpoint of emotional and spiritual well being, Gerry offers hope of not only overcoming trauma but utilizing it as a springboard to incredible personal growth”
Geral T. Blanchard, MA, LPC, BCCP, has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 40 years, treating both victims and perpetrators of interpersonal violence. His most recent publications are: The Difficult Connection: The Therapeutic Relationship of Sex Offender Treatment (Safer Society Press, 2012) and Ancient Ways: Indigenous Healing Innovations for the 21st Century (NEARI Press, 2011). Geral has served as a prison consultant and program development specialist. He has lectured throughout the United States, Canada and Sweden. His articles have appeared in professional journals in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, social work and human sexuality and in shamanic publications.
The timing of the appearance of Transforming Trauma could not have been better. I finished reading it shortly after returning from leading a weekend recovery workshop for male survivors of sexual abuse. Twenty-nine brave and beautiful men gathered at a retreat center in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania to work on healing their own wounds and support their brothers in doing the same. This was the 23rd annual “Leaping upon the Mountains” weekend at this location. Each year’s workshop gets better as the co-facilitators incorporate the true secret of such events: Create safety and get the hell out of the way. To the degree that professionals manage this leap of trust and respect, participants accomplish the most profound, awe-inspiring changes. As Blanchard demonstrates, this approach works as well in individual counseling and group therapy. Wise people learn from the experts. The experts in trauma recovery are the survivors themselves; we professionals have much to learn from our clients.
I read very little “professional literature” these days because when I do I am frequently left feeling bored, angered, frustrated, bewildered, or inadequate. This book is a notable exception. Free of rigidity or gimmicks, it speaks to the best in the professional and the client/patient. I shall read it again and recommend it to anyone – professional or not – who cares about those who have been hurt and wants to be more effective in supporting their healing. Transcending Trauma left me feeling affirmed, edified, uplifted, and encouraged – with greater trust in my own approach and validation of my respect for the courageous, creative, and powerful individuals I work with.
One seldom uses the word “loving” to describe a book written for professionals. Again, here we have an exception. Geral Blanchard is one of a kind: intelligent, adventurous, open, funny, respectful, infinitely curious, articulate – a true child of the Universe. This book, like its author, is wise, helpful, encouraging . . . and deeply, deeply human.
Mike Lew, author of Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse and Leaping upon the Mountains
With Transcending Trauma, Blanchard delivers an insightful and powerful reminder that exposure to traumatic events does not have to become a lifelong sentence. Drawing from his wealth of experience working with indigenous cultures, and his knowledge of psychological theories, Blanchard illustrates the need to approach this work from a holistic perspective bringing together aspects of many theories and furthering the distance between what used to be done and what we now know about trauma and recovery. Whether you are trained in one or many trauma specific evidence-based interventions, mastering the art of restoring and promoting hope and resilience within our patients and families is at the core of any effective trauma work.
Ilaria Filippi, LMFT, Manager of Specialized Services, Clifford Beers Clinic