It’s estimated that 75 per cent of us will experience some form of trauma in life. Everyone encounters some degree of adversity whether it is experienced personally or vicariously through the suffering of a relative or friend – there’s simply no way to go through life without hitting an emotional wall at some point. Historically, trauma has always been perceived as a negative effect that scars people for life, wreaking psychological havoc that affects everything from sleep cycles to relationships to the very will to live. But a new science of posttraumatic growth is proving that people can actually emerge from traumatic experiences stronger, wiser and more fulfilled, despite having endured great emotional pain.
For the past twenty years, Professor Stephen Joseph has worked with survivors of trauma and sufferers of posttraumatic stress and, in What Doesn't Kill Us, he boldly challenges current notions about trauma and its aftermath. His studies have shown that a wide range of traumatic events from illness, divorce, separation, assault and bereavement to accidents, natural disasters and terrorism, can act as catalysts for positive change, strengthening relationships, changing one's perspective and revealing inner strengths.
What Doesn't Kill Us has already received fantastic endorsements from both the academic community and survivors of trauma:
‘We live in a world in which suffering is endemic. In this book Stephen Joseph sounds a hopefully note. Suffering need not destroy’ Terry Waite CBE
‘What Doesn’t Kill Us indeed does and can make us stronger as brilliantly presented by Professor Stephen Joseph and lived throughout my every day’ Dr Gill Hicks MBE, survivor of the London Bombings, July 7, 2005
‘To say that [What Doesn't Kill Us] is essential reading would be an understatement. It is essential as a survival guide to life’ Stephen Regel, Honorary Associate Professor/Co-Director Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth School of Sociology and Social Policy University of Nottingham
‘What Doesn’t Kill Us is a book of wisdom – both for those who have undergone great stress as well as for those who love and treat them. It is psychology at its best: honest, hopeful, helpful, and based on sound serious research. Reading it makes me proud to be a psychologist’ Robert J. Wicks, Professor, Loloya University of Maryland and author of Bounce: Living the Resilient Life
‘In area beset by wishful thinking, Stephen Joseph makes the scientific case for how difficult times can lead to personal growth. What Doesn’t Kill Us is a well-argued and well-evidenced challenge to the idea that trauma is necessarily a curse’ Vaughan Bell, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London
‘In this fascinating book, Stephen Joseph maps out the rarely explored positive consequences of trauma, reminding us that growth is possible even in the most adverse circumstances. Although essential reading for clinicians working with traumatised patients, What Doesn’t Kill Us is so accessibly written that it should appeal to anyone interested in the human condition’ Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool
‘This is the book we have been waiting for Stephen Joseph to write. With decades of experience and knowledge, Joseph presents the wonderfully complex world of posttraumatic growth in an accessible and personable way’ Dr Kate Hefferon, Senior Lecturer, University of East London and author of Positive Psychology: Theory, research and applications
Stephen Joseph is professor of psychology, health and social care at the University of Nottingham, where he is co-director of the Centre for Trauma, Resilience and Growth and an honorary consultant psychologist in psychotherapy. You can read his blog for Psychology Today here.
What Doesn't Kill Us will be published on the 2nd February.
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