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From Pain To Purpose: 5 Ways To Cope In The Wake Of Trauma

National Public Radio (NPR) recently interviewed Jonathan Vickburg, a licensed marriage and family therapist with the Cedars-Sinai Share & Care program, about ways people can cope after traumatic events like the recent shootings in El Paso, Gilroy and Dayton.

As Vickburg said, even if someone hasn’t been directly impacted by events like these, they still likely feel the weight of them.

“People do feel traumatized,” said Vickburg. “The idea that an act of violence could happen anywhere makes us anxious. People may think twice about attending a music festival or walking into a Walmart.”

But there are tangible ways to better cope with these feelings, Vickburg told NPR. And, coping with feelings by taking action might help yourself and also make your community safer and more peaceful. 

Vickburg and other counselors and psychologists recommend that victims give themselves time to process and recover from the repercussions of violence and trauma. It can take weeks or months to build resiliency by finding a circle of support, making time to express feelings, finding daily moments for reflection and becoming a change-maker.

“When you're ready, try to reframe your thinking about the traumatic event,” said Vickburg. “Instead of re-playing the trauma and saying to yourself, ‘this is horrific,’ try to imagine something good that could come from it.”

It’s also important to make time to care for yourself, said Vickburg. He recommends setting aside regular time to go to the gym, participate in a group class or take a walk.

“Consider creative outlets such as painting, or poetry, just for fun,” said Vickburg.

Click here to read the complete NPR story. 

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai blog: Scalpel vs. Bullet: Expert Perspectives on Gun Trauma