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A Petaluma360 Blog

Peters Perspective

Thrive in today's world

Bureaucracy, Trauma, and the VA

Newspapers and media outlets are carrying daily revelations of serious shortcomings in the Veterans Affairs healthcare system. Those who have served our country, with honor and sacrifice, are receiving far less than their due for their medical and psychological needs. In 2010 and 2011, I provided resilience training to VA combat crisis treatment teams in the VISN 3 network—case managers, nurses, social workers, psychologists, suicide prevention coordinators, and other staff in eighteen medical facilities in the New York and New… Read More »

A New Yardstick 2014

I’m in the midst of a vigorous bout of simplifying my life, enthusiastically getting rid of a large quantity of possessions I no longer want or need. The process is personally liberating and financially rewarding at the same time. I’m reminded of a blog post from several years ago, during the depths of our recent recession, titled “A New Yardstick.” At that time, many people were working very hard just to keep up financially. I believe today that this same… Read More »

Seeking Treatment: Part Two

In a previous post, I included an excerpt from Trauma: Healing the Hidden Epidemic on the topic of seeking treatment. Perhaps you’ve occasionally wondered if something painful from your own past, which you can’t quite let go of, could indicate that you carry unresolved trauma. In this post, I will further address some of the challenges of seeking treatment. “Treatment can help you move past painful and traumatic experiences that have troubled you all your life. It can illuminate the connection between your current… Read More »

Relationships and Trauma, Part Two

“Trauma and its psychological wounds often destroy relationships, families, and communities, even claiming lives.” From Trauma: Healing the Hidden Epidemic Last month, we looked at the ways unresolved trauma affects, or almost “infects” relationships. We examined both the practical and the personal burdens that partners of individuals with unresolved trauma can bear. But what happens when both individuals in a relationship—a family, a marriage, a business partnership—carry wounds from the past?   Yours, Mine and Ours The challenges in a… Read More »

Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout

Personal resilience—the ability to recover from stress, or painful, difficult experiences—is essential to resolving trauma. Resilience is a life skill that can be learned. Under contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs, our institute provided a year-long training in resiliency skills to treatment teams in eighteen medical facilities in New York and New Jersey. What happens when people, particularly caregivers, lose their resiliency? Under stress without relief, they can develop compassion fatigue or spiral into burnout. Compassion Fatigue Stress, compassion… Read More »

Seeking Treatment: Part One

Have you ever wondered if something painful from your own past, which you can’t quite let go of, is evidence that you carry unresolved trauma? In this excerpt from my book, Trauma: Healing the Hidden Epidemic, I address some of the challenges of seeking treatment. I’ll continue this topic in by next post, as well. “If you have ever considered seeking treatment, even if you have yet to follow through with it, I acknowledge your courage. Facing reality and accepting… Read More »

Relationships and Trauma, Part 1

Relationships and Trauma Excerpts from Trauma: Healing the Hidden Epidemic, by Peter M. Bernstein, PhD “Trauma and its psychological wounds often destroy relationships, families, and communities, even claiming lives.”                                  From Chapter 7: “A Note to Veterans and Their Loved Ones” Trauma affects, or almost “infects” relationships. The partners of individuals with unresolved trauma bear burdens that can be both practical and personal. Practical Burdens… Read More »

Resilience Cafe February 10th

The next meeting of Resilience Café will be held on Monday, February 10th at Aqus Café from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Please join us for this continuing public forum for the discussion and healing of trauma. We offer all who attend the opportunity to “Listen, Share, Heal,” as together we fight the stigma often associated with mental health challenges and the isolation trauma sufferers experience from our “hidden epidemic”. My message – then and now – is one of hope.… Read More »

A Resolution for Hope

It’s a new year and the news sounds good. The stock market is hitting new highs, employment and housing starts are up, consumer confidence is rising. We’ve just celebrated joy-filled holidays with family and friends and now we can make a fresh start in 2014. With so many things on their way “up”, why can it be so easy to feel down? Here are two possibilities. The holidays – whether you recognized it at the time or not – were… Read More »

The Season of Light

We are entering a season for celebrations, and the symbol of light plays a part in many of our spiritual traditions. Light in the darkness can be a powerful metaphor for important ideas: courage in spite of fear, empathy in place of judgment, love instead of animosity, faith in place of doubt, and hope in the face of despair. The experience of trauma can cast a dark shadow over our lives. But I believe the light of healing can turn… Read More »