Human Resiliency and Trauma

The attacks of 9/11 changed not only how we engage with the world but what we know about it. In the last ten years, psychology has advanced in its understanding of trauma and resiliency.


What's the Latest Development?

Prior to the attacks on 9/11, the popular psychotherapeutic method for counseling individuals who had experienced a traumatic event was known as "debriefing". The technique which aimed to prevent the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder assumed that it was better for individuals to talk about what they had been through rather than bottling it up. But Harvard psychologist Richard McNally warned against the debriefing cure after 9/11 knowing "that research conducted during the 1990s had shown that debriefing was at best ineffective, and at worst actually slowed people’s recovery."

What's the Big Idea?

Psychology’s understanding of trauma and human resiliency became greatly informed by the attacks on 9/11. What McNally discovered in the aftermath of the attacks is that humans are more resilient to trauma than once thought. "They might be shaken, or upset, or scared right after something terrible happens, said Columbia University psychologist George Bonanno, who has conducted resilience research. 'But as far as trauma, most people are symptom-free....They are able to continue functioning without missing a beat.'" In the years since 9/11, debriefing has fallen out of favor. 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

The dos and don’ts of helping a drug-addicted person recover

How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.

  • Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
  • Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
  • As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
Keep reading Show less

Neuroscience confirms your subconscious shapes your reality

Groundbreaking neuroscience confirms what Sigmund Freud first theorized.

Technology & Innovation

Groundbreaking neuroscience confirms what Sigmund Freud first theorized: that what we believe to be the objective reality surrounding us is actually formed by our subconscious. David Eagleman explains:

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less