Clemantine Wamariya

“Success” may not be something often associated with trauma, but two Bay Area psychologists have spent years examining success in the wake of suffering and distress. We discuss what makes certain individuals achieve great things after great suffering with the authors of “Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success.”

 

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Guests:
David Feldman, associate professor of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University and co-author of "Supersurvivors"
Lee Kravetz, psychotherapist and co-author of "Supersurvivors"

  • Robert Thomas

    The clear evidence of human history is that humans survive horrific trauma and prosper.

    However, I think in my mature adulthood, it’s more clear to me than ever that a very large part of human suffering and unhappiness is the result of traumatic experiences of childhood from which children generally seem to emerge unscathed – but that revisit them ruinously in later years.

    We have seen depictions of children playing in the rubble after the Battle of Britain and so forth. But in war-torn parts of the world, at times of war, whole societies may be arrested for many decades because of the damage children endure.

    • Guest

      The loss of my father to suicide when I was 20 & the recent loss of my brother to an accidental overdose has engrained the idea of “life is short”. Although I am still grieving for both and always will, I am doing my best to take life in with each moment. Grab every opportunity, be patient with yourself, love others and receive love. But also, slow down and be here now. Carlie from San Francisco

  • disqus_63X8zNMKNl

    Very interesting discussion, and an important one. My mom was really a survivor, and I think my sister and I could say the same–like most people. It does bother me, though, when I hear psychologists, or anyone, talk about “negative feelings.” Some in my family believe that having positive or so-called negative feelings is absolutely a matter of choice, and have no sympathy for sadness or depression. I wish that more people would understand that the attitudes one has are not, if ever, a matter of choice. If one feels very depressed or anxious, it’s certainly not a matter of choice. Anti-depressants help marvelously, but telling someone to “think positively” and not to have “negative thoughts” is insensitive, in my experience. But thanks for this wonderful interview.

  • Laura Ammons

    I believe that if u r white in the US u have a better chance to believe that The world is a pretty good place

  • LF

    I saw a “Before I Die…” wall in New Orleans, which was filled in. I did not know the history behind it. It was inspiring to see it because it was a surprise to find it and it made me think about my bucket list.

  • Cathy

    I’ve suffered from bipolar over 20 years. Accepting this and seeing the gift of resiliency and self reflection had enhanced my life even though I will always suffer to an extent of my condition. 4 years ago I came to a point in my life where I fully accepted that and began doing activities I never would have just a few years prior. Then a year later I began suffering a very painful nerve condition with no known cure. When this started I decided I’d had enough dep depression in my life. It’s not to say I haven’t gotten very depressed but rather did not to dwell in it. And my shrink has always maintained to never underestimate hope in the way the speakers are describing. I needed help with my daughter. I discovered a network of other parents to rely on. I have my mom, husband, more family & new fitness I reached out to. Also, I’ve learned what really matters in life and let go of social expectations that are frivolous.I’ve suffered from bipolar over 20 years. Accepting this and seeing the gift of resiliency and self reflection had enhanced my life even though I will always suffer to an extent of my condition. 4 years ago I came to a point in my life where I fully accepted that and began doing activities I never would have just a few years prior. Then a year later I began suffering a very painful nerve condition with no known cure. When this started I decided I’d had enough dep depression in my life. It’s not to say I haven’t gotten very depressed but rather did not to dwell in it. And my shrink has always maintained to never underestimate hope in the way the speakers are describing. I needed help with my daughter. I discovered a network of other parents to rely on. I have my mom, husband, more family & new friends I reached out to. Also I’ve learned what
    matters in life and have let go of social expectations that are really frivolous

  • Dave Johnson

    I like to call it ‘worst case scenario. ‘ I imagine the worst case scenario in a situation im dealing with and basically anything less than that is a good thing.

    Dave from San Leandro

    • Carlie Hacha

      I use that one too. We’re also born fortunate in the United states compared to the global community. That idea is a helpful smelling salt for me as well.

  • disqus_er3g2byx2B

    Would be helpful for the show to mention a few Bay Area services covered by most medical insurers.

  • disqus_er3g2byx2B

    Also, a shout out to the arts for helping trauma sufferers.

  • Carlie Hacha

    The loss of my father to suicide when I was 20 & the recent loss of my brother and best friend to accidental overdose has engrained in me “life is short”. Although I am still grieving for both and always will, I am doing my best to enjoy this life that I am lucky to be healthily living. Grab every opportunity, learn your desires and go after them, GIVE love and be open to receive love. But most of all, slow down, enjoy this moment and be here now.

  • Irvin Collins

    Hyper-individualism
    The very conception that there is such a special breed of “super-survivors” perpetuates the myth of the omnipotent individual and only serves to reinforce America’s obsessive success-oriented culture. If, in the end, recovery is solely left up to the individual, then we exalt winners and end up blaming losers. Although the authors do their best to soft-step the issue, this approach towards trauma implicitly blames those who suffer and shames those who are not able to prosper and thrive. The phrase “super-survivors” is itself misleading and hyperbolic. Titles matter. Promote a different message, please!

  • Kathy

    I think a clear distinction needs to be made about trauma suffered in childhood as opposed to that suffered as an adult. Very young children are devoid of any kind of framework by which they can make sense of a traumatic experience – especially one delivered by a parent with whom they are utterly dependent. The following is an excerpt from the book Dissociation and the Dissociative Disorders: DSM-V and Beyond (p.42). Taylor and Francis (2009.)

    “A strong emotional base, derived from a supportive caregiving relationship, provides a solid foundation for flexible and effective arousal modulation, impulse control, and adaptation to the demands of the environment. At the instrumental level, relationship experience shapes the development of specific skills that enable the successful negotiation of salient developmental issues. Finally, at the relational level, the child with a history of responsive care possesses capacities to apprehend the rules of
    social reciprocity and to establish and maintain genuine empathic connections with others.

    The regulation of emotion lies at the core of early socioemotional experience (Thompson, 2006). Such regulation entails processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying arousal that enable individuals to function adaptively in the environment (Cicchetti, Ganiban, & Barnett,1991). Moreover, core affective dimensions endow individuals with a sense of continuity of self throughout development and across relationships with others (Emde, 1983). Longitudinal research supports the link between well-functioning affective attunement in early childhood and adaptive functioning in motivational, attitudinal, instrumental, emotional, and relational domains
    across development (Thompson, 2006; Sroufe, Egeland, Carlson, & Collins, 2005; Weinfield, Sroufe, Egeland, & Carlson, 2008).”

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