Did you know that every superhero has a backstory written for them, and these stories often include a traumatic event or experience? Some heroes and heroines are imbued with superpowers as a result of these incidents. Events that are life-threatening, or perceived to be so, and experiences that are disturbing and result in significant levels of fear and helplessness–like abuse and neglect–are often a turning point in the superheroes’ lives. I find it interesting that as a culture, we view these figures as noble, brave, and strong not only for surviving, but channeling their strength borne of adversity to stand up for themselves and others.
I think this is a great reminder for all of us to see that even superheroes have dealt with difficult–even tragic–life events, and these experiences have been woven into their stories of being overcomers with purpose. This is the model that we use for healing from trauma. We work with clients to face their trauma and cope with it in a way that it does not interfere with daily living. At the same time, clients are guided in integrating their experiences so that they are part of of themselves. The goal is to flip the script–to help clients discover ways to harness the trauma, and create beauty in their lives and in the lives of others.
I wonder if you, too, are a superhero!