Many of my previous writings have been focused on loss and trauma and the recent fires in Northern California are certainly relevant to these topics. However, just as it can be important to acknowledge and identify trauma or understand the processes many people go through after experiencing or re-experiencing a traumatic event, it can be equally important to acknowledge that with time, support, and work people can and overcome trauma, and can become stronger because of it.
Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from difficult experiences. During or in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event it can be difficult to imagine ever regaining a sense of control or normalcy again, but as the American Psychological Association points out, “research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary.” People have an amazing capacity to adapt to change, even when that change is horrific and devastating. Every year in the United States hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and wildfires affect the lives of families and communities causing pain, loss, and disruption to their lives. Yet with enough time, compassion, and support people and communities rebuild themselves.
The American Psychological Association published The Road to Resilience, which includes a discussion of what resilience is, how to build it, and resources for help. Whether this help comes in the form of friends and family, religious and spiritual support, support groups, or individual or group therapy, it is essential to remember that while everyone is capable of overcoming trauma and building resilience, it does not happen on its own. It does require effort to seek out help.
If you are looking for support processing your experience of a traumatic event, or know someone who is looking for help, you are welcome to call me (262) 607-2226. I would like to offer free individual therapy services to those immediately affected by the California Wildfires.