I first began learning about trauma during winter break after my first semester of college. My father had gifted me The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. I read the stories of ordinary individuals who had experienced unspeakable horror and pain, who felt suffering not only in their minds, but in their brains and bodies, too. I came across the life's work of a man who sought to heal the whole individual and shared his own journey of pain, healing, and discovery. I learned about the mechanisms of trauma, the development of DSM diagnoses, and the healing power of EMDR. However, what I remember most about reading this book was the deep, but quiet voice that arose in me and said, "this work--work that considers the whole being and offers agency and healing--is something I want to do, too!" Though now I can't remember if my interest in trauma preceded the reading of this book, I do know that the stories and knowledge I encountered transformed my understanding of the body, mind, and brain, propelled me into a psychology major, and informed my vocational goals and desires.
Reading that book brought me here to the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth. I first uncovered my interests in trauma and the human capacity to grow and heal in the pages of a book; yet, I envision that my interests will come alive and take shape during this internship. Though I have come with specific questions, I am hopeful that this experience will sharpen them and even bring forth new ones. While I am interested in certain areas of trauma scholarship, I anticipate discovering fresh areas of pursuit within the field. Through my experiences as an intern, I hope to deepen my understanding of trauma and bear witness to the resilience of communities and individuals.
The questions I seek to answer include: How do communities show long-term effects of collective traumas? How do recollections of the trauma get passed down through generations and retold by individuals and in groups? How do traumatic experiences impact the learning environments of children? What are the most effective community models of post-traumatic healing?
How do recollections of the trauma get passed down through generations and retold by individuals and in groups? How do traumatic experiences impact the learning environments of children? What are the most effective community models of post-traumatic healing?
I pursued this internship because I saw the opportunity to develop and deepen my interests in trauma and post-traumatic growth through the Institute. I also sought out this internship because I believe that it will help me define and clarify my vocational goals. I see this as an opportunity to try on a new role and see how it fits, to feel how it feels to work in traumatized communities, foster resilience and healing, and engage in trauma-informed work. What do I like about working in communities that have experienced trauma? What is challenging about working in these communities? Is this work life-giving to me? By engaging in this internship, I imagine that all of these questions--and even ones I haven’t known to ask yet--will be answered. Throughout the internship, I expect to experience both failure and affirmation in my giftings. I desire to witness the difficulty that comes with working alongside traumatized people, but also the joy and hope that ensues when individuals and communities are able to grow and heal. I am hopeful that this internship will confirm that quiet voice I heard years ago that said, “this is something I want to do.” And even if this experience does not confirm that little voice, I am hopeful that through this internship I will be able to further discern my calling and role in the Kingdom of God.
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Chloe is currently a fourth year student at Westmont College, earning a B.S. in Psychology-Behavioral Neuroscience. She enjoys learning about how resilience and connectedness impact experiences of trauma. Chloe brings her experiences living in Costa Rica and Scotland and studying abroad in Israel-Palestine to her studies and work.
Exploring the changing landscape of long-term care.