By Richard Beck
As I ponder what to write in my first article for the Open to Hope Foundation, I imagine what it feels like to read about the universal challenges that face us after we experience a loss.
Loss is universal in that death is inevitable for all of us. Some losses leave us without words to describe the pain, the hurt, the rage, the sadness, and the grief that engulfs our souls. As a fisherman, I know that the ocean, Mother Nature herself, has no compassion and no conscience. When storms occur, good sailors can die.
What is the pull to read everyone’s stories of loss and recovery? What is the author’s pull to write their stories of surviving horrific losses?
I believe that this is a two-fold yet related process. We read others stories to not feel alone. We write our stories to feel understood.
Nobody lives in a vacuum. Loss can make people ill. It takes people to help people overcome loss. The readership of these posts are a group who learn from, relate to, and benefit from hearing about the other’s experiences.
We give each other hope, as we learn how other’s have endured, survived and overcome loss. The foundation is the “Open to Hope Foundation.” I believe that hope is the key for all of us as we live our lives and endure losses of all magnitudes, large and small.
In my future articles, I hope to share how my work with trauma survivors, done in groups, provided a safe container within which safety and trust could become the foundation and cornerstones by which hope could be cultivated and living life fully again could be resumed.
RICHARD BECK, LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA is an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Social Work, and a psychotherapist in Private Practice in New York City, with expertise in treating trauma and working with individuals, couples and groups. Richard both trains and treats therapists who work with trauma. After the events of 9/11 and the Hurricanes of 2004, Richard conducted well over 1000 hours of trauma groups with survivors, their families, witnesses and rescue workers. He continues to lecture, teach and lead demonstration groups throughout the country, dealing with trauma and the importance of groups following a traumatic event and loss. Richard recently published the “Unique Benefit of Group following Traumatic Events,” and co-authored an American Group Psychotherapy Association Trauma Protocol entitled “Lessons Learned in Working with Witnesses, Survivors and Family Members after Traumatic Events.”