Extraordinary Speaker. Superb Facilitator.
Just returned from a fabulous trip and great conferences. South Africa, four new programs. Dr. Kobus Neethling's ACRE: one conference for educators, and one for business people. ABSA, Barclay's SAfrican arm, was a major sponsor as was Nedbank. We had over 350 educators and then 350 business people.
I was asked to help the educators learn how trauma impacts creativity and how they can help restore it... and I wanted them to recognize the power of tolerating and managing chaos in a classroom--and to have specific tools for managing the challenge. Every person there has either some generational or direct experience of something overwhelming (traumatic).
I wanted to help business leaders consider the value of intuition and skills for honing it--with intuition as a form of creativity in an initial form. I spent--as have many--years trying to live purely by fact, and by data. Only when I incorporated and tuned my intuition did my decision making really improve--because I was using my whole brain, engaging both sides of my brain and trusting that I am part of a larger world. It is a "better" exploitation (in a positive way) of my skill and ability!
South Africa's future is at the mercy of its ability to help young people. She must help them grow into capable leaders through education. And the country must proactively address the public health crisis of adverse childhood experiences to reduce their long-term impact, and to grow the economic health of the country require a grasp (at the practical level) of how adversity impacts everyone for many generations--and to develop non-pathologizing, community strengthening ways of responding to reduce adversity (and therefore it's impact).
These are big tasks. Far more economically developed countries, my own included, are slow on the ball to recognize the true costs of adversity and the stark reality of shortages of clinicians. There'll never be enough people working in the field of mental health to "treat" people whose daily functioning is impaired. The shift from a pathologizing "what's wrong" view of the impact of adversity to an "ecological" view, starting with asking "what happened" is a huge beginning. Helping people learn what I call "agility" may be my next area of exploration and study.
Again, there is a tension between people who feel that "trauma" should only refer to acute horrific events and not to experiences as diffuse as toxic stress and those of us who feel that toxic stress as a diffuse form of trauma. To the person whose development is derailed, and their life, because of chronic oppression, a community in which violence is endemic, I don't think it matters.
The consequences just don't care what the cause is, and if trauma can be caused by exposure to enduring conditions, toxic stress need to be on the list.
Elizabeth Power, M.Ed.
PS: Check out Risking Connection --it's great!
How to Get Happier... and why you should try to!
Relevant, irreverent, thought-provoking, and downright funny, this is the book for our times!
Elizabeth Power does it again.
Check out www.gettinghappier.com to learn more and order yours today at amazon.com!
Kindle version now available.
Extraordinary Speaker? You bet. Successful Meetings named Elizabeth Power one of the up and comings along with--Guy Kawasaki, Molly Ivins, and Colin Powell! She's still just as great, and getting better every year.
Keynote, plenary, breakout, or seminar--Elizabeth Power is simply the best for getting the message across about the impact of change, how to cope with it, and issues related to traumatic experiences.
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