The Institute for Spirituality and Health
Exploring the connections between spirituality and health.


Spirited Words

See below for a collection of reflections, writings, essays, poems, and other contributions that the ISH community has submitted over the years. We hope you enjoy.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to our blog, please contact Anyang Anyang <>. We publish writing that relates to our mission of enhancing well-being by exploring the relationship between spirituality and health.


Posttraumatic Growth — What Doesn’t Kill Us

By John Graham

August 24th, 2012

ISH has a very important seminar coming up on Saturday, Sept 29, 2012 entitled, “Posttraumatic Growth.”   We have all heard about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in our returning Vetrans (20 per cent or more) and with anyone who is subjected to emotional stress and violence in any form — loss of a loved one, rape, abandonment, theft, assault.  So, we should fill the lecture room with people who need this seminar.  The two speakers are terrific and have given their presentation to gatherings of returning veterans and in churches with excellent responses — “You gave me the tools I have needed to move on in my life.” and “I will never be the same.  How can I every thank you enough?”  The lecture should be of value to anyone who has experienced PTSD and anyone who cares for someone with this condition.  And, therapists will find the seminar helpful, too.  Register early online as we anticipate filling our space.  You can also call 713-797-0600 to register, as well.

Stephen Joseph, Ph.D., has written a book entitled, What Doesn’t Kill Us: The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth. (New York:  Basic Books, 2011).  It is an excellent book to{C}

be introduced to the concept that it is possible to experience Transformation and be set free from the power of the traumatic events in our life.  Joseph does a good job of highlighting the Emotional Toll which follows the experience of Trauma and helps us understand the Biology of Trauma — what is taking place in our brain and in the rest of our body.  The second part of his book talks about “Growth Following Adversity.”  

Transformation is possible, Joseph says and, in part, explains this by using the metaphor of a shattered vase.  He says our deep-seated assumptions are the scaffolding of our lives.  Trauma brings that scallolding crashing down, exposing us to the realities of what it means to be human — we are fragile and mortal.  Trauma can be like an “atom smasher of our belief systems,” he says.   We begin to ask questions, “where was God?”   When we break into a thousand pieces (like a broken vase) we can try to glue everything back together. 

That is not the only thing we can do.  Joseph says, “The core of the shattered vase theory is the notion that human beings are active, growth-oriented organisms who are — by nature — inclined to accomodate their psychological experiences into a unified senseof self and a realistic view of the world.  His book gives guidelines for how to accomodate and modify our perceptions.  He then moves on to a chapter on “Paths to Posttraumatic Growth” and how to “nurture growth.” 

I can highly recommend Joseph’s book and I can highly recommend anyone interested in attending the Posttramatic Growth Seminar on Saturday, Sept 29, at the Institute for Spirituality and Health, 8100 Greenbriar, # 220, Parking is Free.  Register online or by calling 713-797-0600.  A flyer for the Posttraumatic Growth seminar, with introduction of the two speakers, is available when you register online at the front page register banner or go to Upcoming Events to locate the flyer.  This seminar will be well-worth attending.  The cost is $ 99 and Scholarships are available.  We want you to attend and don’t want money to stand in the way.

Sara Moore