A Columbia University clinical psychologist argues that we vastly overestimate the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fail to recognize how resilient people really are: What we often interpret as PTSD are signs of a natural process of learning how to deal with a specific situation.
... an important course-correction to what is now received wisdom about trauma and how to treat it ... resilient individuals have a 'flexibility mindset,' consisting of optimism, confidence in their ability to cope,and a 'challenge orientation' ... All desirable qualities, to be sure, but in spite of Mr. Bonanno’s efforts to tie them to stories of people in adversity, the practical advice he is able to extract from them proves frothy, self-helpy and vague ... I do wish he had tackled the politics and economics of the trauma industry in more detail ... Of greater concern is that the author himself fails to distinguish events that are truly traumatic from difficult life problems (illness, loss, multiple stresses), calling upon 'resilience' to link them all.
His research is brilliantly presented through the personal stories of his interview subjects and comes alive through the lenses of personal experience, as people explain their feelings of stress and worry, hope, and optimism in their own words. Bonanno's writing is accessible, and the book helpfully uses charts to help relay the meaning of some of the more extensive data. Readers will be drawn into this research without their even knowing it ... A necessary and important addition to the literature of adaptation to stress; it belongs in the collections of every academic library. Highly recommended.
Bonanno masterfully conveys his extensive research on 9/11 survivors, and on people who suffered severe spinal cord injuries yet who didn’t experience long-term traumatic effects. His resilience model is provocative, and Bonanno urges that there’s 'no single best way to cope' and calls for professionals to 'adjust our behavior to fit whatever the situation is calling for, and...make sure whatever we are doing is working.' Bold and accessible, this offers much to consider.