The Riggs Blog

Remembering September 11. The History of Trauma Resides in Each of Us.

Twelve years ago today our country watched in disbelief as two planes collided with the World Trade Center towers, one into the Pentagon, and yet another into a field in Pennsylvania. Can you still remember the day as if it were yesterday, what you were doing when you heard the news and your feelings as the world seemed to change instantly?

As the family of the deceased read off the names this morning, it brings many of us back to the place of disbelief and remembering the trauma and impact of the events of 9/11. In preparation for a day of memorialization, the media has covered many harrowing and terrifying events of the tragedy. As we sit in front of our televisions, read the news and relive the trauma of the victims and bystanders we are exposed to the psychological, physical and spiritual effects of individual and group trauma. 

The history of trauma resides in each of us – as citizens we are marked by the past and present events taking place in the surrounding world.  We ask the question – what to do with the casualties, the physically and psychically wounded and the collective injury to ideals of human dignity and community? This becomes a central task for those traumatized by various forms of violence, degradation, or disaster.

For those old enough to remember 9/11 we will likely carry the memory of where we were when we heard the terrible news of the attacks, and the lingering feelings ranging from sadness and horror to anger and outrage. In the last year we have experienced a devastating hurricane, the mass murder of small children and their teachers and the Boston Marathon bombing. We hope to explore these events and others at this year’s Fall Conference where we will hear from academicians and clinicians, exploring the history of trauma and our individual and collective responses to it. We hope to examine the history of large-scale societal trauma and the individual psychodynamics associated with trauma so that we can collectively learn to help one another through these difficult times.

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