In these personal reflections on his thirty years of clinical work with victims of genocide, torture, and abuse in the United States, Cambodia, Bosnia, and other parts of the world, Richard Mollica describes the surprising capacity of traumatized people to heal themselves.
Here is how Neil Boothby, Director of the Program on Forced Migration and Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, describes the book:
"Mollica provides a wealth of ethnographic and clinical evidence that suggests the human capacity to heal is innateAa--that the 'survival instinct' extends beyond the physical to include the psychological as well. He enables us to see how recovery from 'traumatic life events' needs to be viewed primarily as a 'mystery' to be listened to and explored, rather than solely as a 'problem' to be identified and solved. Healing involves a quest for meaningAa--with all of its emotional, cultural, religious, spiritual and existential attendantsAa--even when bio-chemical reactions are also operative."
"Healing Invisible Wounds" reveals how trauma survivors, through the telling of their stories, teach all of us how to deal with the tragic events of everyday life. Mollica's important discovery that humiliation--an instrument of violence that also leads to anger and despair--can be transformed through his therapeutic project into solace and redemption is a remarkable new contribution to survivors and clinicians.
This book reveals how in every society we have to move away from viewing trauma survivors as "broken people" and "outcasts" to seeing them as courageous people actively contributing to larger social goals. When violence occurs, there is damage not only to individuals but to entire societies, and to the world. Through the journey of self-healing that survivors make, they enable the rest of us not only as individuals but as entire communities to recover from injury in a violent world.