What Doesn't Kill Us: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth

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9780465019410: What Doesn't Kill Us: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth

For the past twenty years, pioneering psychologist Stephen Joseph has worked with survivors of trauma. His studies have yielded a startling discovery: that a wide range of traumatic events—from illness, divorce, separation, assault, and bereavement to accidents, natural disasters, and terrorism—can act as catalysts for positive change. Boldly challenging the conventional wisdom about trauma and its aftermath, Joseph demonstrates that rather than ruining one's life, a traumatic event can actually improve it.

Drawing on the wisdom of ancient philosophers, the insights of evolutionary biologists, and the optimism of positive psychologists, What Doesn't Kill Us reveals how all of us can navigate change and adversity— traumatic or otherwise—to find new meaning, purpose, and direction in life.

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About the Author:

Stephen Joseph is Professor of Psychology, Health, and Social Care at the University of Nottingham, UK, where he codirects the Center for Trauma, Resilience, and Growth. He lives in Nottingham, United Kingdom.

Review:

Terry Waite CBE
“We live in a world in which suffering is endemic.  In this book Stephen Joseph sounds a hopeful note.  Suffering need not destroy.”

Robert J. Wicks, Professor, Loyola University Maryland, and author of Bounce: Living the Resilient LifeWhat Doesn’t Kill Us seamlessly combines needed inspiration and the most advanced information about the new psychology of posttraumatic growth for those who have experienced great suffering.  Stephen Joseph, one of the leading experts in the world on trauma, resilience, and growth, offers both compelling stories and practical information.  What Doesn’t Kill Us is a book of wisdom—both for those who have undergone great stress as well as for those who love and treat them.  It is psychology at its best: honest, hopeful, helpful, and based on sound serious research.  Reading it makes me proud to be a psychologist.” John Harvey, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Iowa

“Convincingly challenging, highly enlightening, and compulsively readable, What Doesn’t Kill Us is thoroughly recommended for both those who have and have not experienced trauma.  A transformational new perspective.” Elaine Fox, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at University of Essex
What Doesn’t Kill Us is an insightful and entertaining account of the new psychology of resilience. Stephen Joseph brilliantly combines personal anecdote with cutting edge psychology to explain why all of us have the capacity to triumph over adversity. A must read if you ever wondered why most of us rebound so well after disaster, What Doesn’t Kill Us is an invaluable guide for anyone wanting to know how to cope with trauma.” Richard Bentall, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool “In this fascinating book, Stephen Joseph maps out the rarely explored positive consequences of trauma, reminding us that growth is possible even in the most adverse circumstances. Although essential reading for clinicians working with traumatized patients, What Doesn’t Kill Us is so accessibly written that it should appeal to anyone interested in the human condition.” 

Vaughan Bell, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London
“In an area beset by wishful thinking, Stephen Joseph makes the scientific case for how difficult times can lead to personal growth.  What Doesn’t Kill Us is a well argued and well evidenced challenge to the idea that trauma is necessarily a curse.” Publishers Weekly“Informative and thoughtful.” Kirkus Reviews“A sure-to-be-controversial, provocative challenge to prevailing wisdom on how to deal with stress.” 

“In What Doesn’t Kill Us, Stephen Joseph brings his expertise as one of the world’s most prolific and influential scholars of trauma and over two decades of clinical experience to bear in producing a literate and compelling book on growth from and through adversity.  The book is replete with powerful story-lines of people who persevered in the face of great pain and loss:  From Michael J. Fox to Viktor Frankl we learn how survivors lived Nietzsche's dictum of what doesn't kill you can make you stronger.  Joseph gives voice to the non-famous and famous alike as he tells stories of survival and thriving, both in personal and global crises.  All the while, the book is highly educational about the dynamics of posttraumatic growth and related concepts. It is a rare feat to produce a book that will appeal and be useful to the general public, as well as scholars and practitioners. Joseph has done so.” Mick Cooper, Professor of Counseling, University of Strathclyde“Beautifully written, drawing on leading-edge scientific research to reveal one of humankind's noblest qualities: the capacity to find meaning and growth in the face of near-unbearable suffering.” Elaine Iljon Foreman, author of Fly Away Fear: Overcoming Your Fear of Flying

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