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Recovering from Genocidal Trauma

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: The Holocaust is just one of the many mass atrocity crimes committed in the world's past and present. How can survivors learn to heal?
Air Date: 6/17/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Myra Giberovitch, MSW
Myra-GiberovitchMyra Giberovitch is a licensed social worker, educator and author of Recovering from Genocidal Trauma: An Information and Practice Guide for Working with Holocaust Survivors, published by the University of Toronto Press. She started the first community-based social service program for Holocaust survivors in Canada and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in this area. She conducts educational workshops for healthcare providers on the tools and techniques of strength-based practice as it applies to trauma and recovery. Myra is affiliated with the McGill University School of Social Work in Montreal, Canada, as an adjunct professor, lecturer and field supervisor. She is the proud mother and grandmother of three children and five grandchildren.
  • Book Title: Recovering from Genocidal Trauma: An Information and Practice Guide for Working with Holocaust Survivors
Recovering from Genocidal Trauma
For the younger generation of today, the Holocaust is just something that is taught in history classes.

But, there are still survivors of the Holocaust, living among us today.

Myra Giberovitch, MSW, says that working with Holocaust survivors was her calling, never a "career." 

She is the daughter of survivor parents, and her early childhood influenced her and inspired her to do something for these individuals and their children.

Myra's book, Recovering from Genocidal Trauma: An Information and Practice Guide for Working with Holocaust Survivors, focuses on survivors of the Holocaust, but is also intended to reach a diverse audience. 

There are many versions of what she calls "mass atrocity crimes," including genocide, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. Some are still very present around the world today.

Myra's goal with the book and with her work is to give hope to individuals that recovery is possible. 

The book helps people understand and interact with survivors, because there is a certain level of compassion that is needed. They are a fiercely independent group of individuals, and the losses of aging are now starting to affect many of them... death of a spouse, moving out of their homes. Everyday sights and sounds may trigger a traumatic memory. They may become anxious and/or angry when lining up for food. Many are afraid to shower. Loud places can be unnerving.

Myra's work takes a strength-based approach, which emphasizes that survivor individuals have strength and resilience, while still honoring and respecting their vulnerability. Much of the post-war literature focused on the trauma these people had been through, rather than their ability to adapt and rise up from the rubble (both literal and figurative).

Listen in as Myra joins Andrea to discuss more about her book, why it is so important to her, and how it can be applied to other individuals' lives.

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