Growing Strong in Our Broken Places:
Understanding Theory, Research and Clinical Implications of Posttraumatic Growth
Presented by Mary Beth Werdel, Ph.D.
Friday, September 20, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
3 CE Credits offered
Loyola University Maryland
Columbia Graduate Center
8890 McGaw Road
Columbia, MD 21045
Historically stress and trauma have been examined from a medical model that focuses exclusively on symptom reduction and a return, if possible, to a pre-stress/pre-trauma baseline level of functioning. However, a substantial research base exists which explains that the traditional model of working with stress and trauma is not complete. Research from a positive psychological perspective has identified that sometimes in the process of moving towards healing experiences after stress and trauma people do not merely return to a baseline, pre-morbid level of functioning. Rather, sometimes, in the ‘broken place’ after stress and trauma, people grow stronger and wiser, realizing a piece of their self, of others, or gaining a philosophy of life that is intrinsically new and positive. Such new insights have been coined ‘posttraumatic growth.’ In this presentation, attendees will learn the most current research relative to the process of posttraumatic growth and the clinical implications that follow with the aim of helping clinicians nurture experiences of posttraumatic growth in clients when possible.
As a result of attending this presentation attendees will:
1. Be familiar with the theory of posttraumatic growth
2. Understand the role cognitive processing and personality play in the process of growth
3. Be aware of the most current research relative to the relationship between faith, religious coping and growth
4. Have a frame to nurture experiences of posttraumatic growth if and when they arise in clients
About the Presenter
Mary Beth Werdel is an assistant professor of pastoral care and counseling at Fordham University. Her research focuses on the positive psychological frame of stress and trauma with emphasis on the interconnections of suffering, spirituality, and growth. Dr. Werdel is also a Licensed Professional Counselor skilled in working with individuals and families from a variety of cultural and experiential backgrounds. She has a number of empirical research articles published in a variety of different peer-reviewed journals as well as book length work, A Primer on Posttraumatic Growth: An Introduction and Guide, co-authored with Robert J. Wicks, Psy.D and published by Wiley (2012).