What is collective trauma? Are the wounds that we bear best addressed behind the closed doors of a therapist’s office, or as a collective? How is collective, intergeneration trauma affecting us all?
Patrick Dougherty, M.A., L.P. is a licensed psychologist with 40 years of clinical work and social activism. He is part of an international group working with and developing models dealing with collective trauma (www.pocketproject.org). He is a former US Marine who served in Vietnam and is leading a group specifically working with the collective trauma of armed violence and war (http://movingthroughit.org).
In this episode, Patrick discusses what it was like to return to the US after serving in Vietnam to find that nobody wanted to know what had happened there, about the pain and shame he held inside and tried to work on through therapy, until one day is Jerusalem the words of three women changed his life and his perspective forever.
Patrick argues that looking at trauma as an individual problem will never effectively heal collective pain – we need to work together in groups and communities to address the way different trauma lives in our bodies – and not only in those who identify themselves as victims. According to Patrick, our avoidance of discomfort and our fear of losing our own safety and privilege further drives feeling of trauma and separation.
The Pocket Project: https://pocketproject.org/
Moving through it: https://movingthroughit.org/introduction/
Healing Collective Trauma: http://www.healingcollectivetrauma.com/
Other articles and resources with Patrick:
Interview with Patrick at the Trauma and Mental Health in Conflict and Migration online conference (do you recognise who’s interviewing him?)
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van del Kolk (https://besselvanderkolk.net/the-body-keeps-the-score.html) – a fascinating book about trauma