Thursday, August 2, 2012

9/11, Post-Traumatic Growth, & Psychology's Expanded Role

     "Focusing on transformative experiences that have emerged out of the trauma and conflict of September 11 (9/11), we find signs of a cultural transformation of consciousness and propose to articulate the foundations for a transpersonal theory of cultural evolution. In emphasizing instances of integral consciousness and the spiritual aspects of responses to 9/11, we are not devaluing mourning, fear, anger, or the national pain of loss. However, as researchers we cannot deny the evidence of another class of phenomena in the aftermath of 9/11, such as complex spiritual, imaginative and transformative. These experiences can also be described as transpersonal, sacred, altruistic, and positive.

     Surveys and focus group responses to 9/11 resulted in psychologists acknowledging the resilience of the U.S. populace. The need was not for coping strategies to avoid pathology but for self-exploration and the acknowledgement of trauma as transformative in the cultivation of positive values and altruistic action. 
     Psychology can be more aware of the subtleties of phenomena as they present themselves within complex lived experience. At the same time, the broad, interdisciplinary, inclusive cosmologies will be complimentary for psychology to assess the patterns of development in cultures.
     We call upon psychology to develop a further understanding of imaginative responses to conflicts and trauma, and to study and develop means of introducing and cultivating social practices that facilitate integral consciousness in world cultures.
     Although it is not always acknowledged, psychology has a culture shaping function. A shift towards an emergent evolution oriented psychology able to accommodate spontaneity and acknowledge the reality of cosmic and non-dual realms might be a factor in the formation of non-violent cultures in the future."
       Wall K, Louchakova O. Evolution of consciousness in responses to terrorist attacks: Towards a transpersonal theory of cultural transformation. The Humanistic Psychologist 2002; 30(3): 252-273.

Photo: TClair

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