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Reading Recommendations:: Supersurvivors The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success by David B. Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz


As a mental health professional, I have always been fascinated by individuals who sustain a significant trauma and not only survive but are resilient, grow despite and because of it. Individuals who have endured genocides, life changing illness’, the individual resiliency of everyday adult and children who’ve suffered emotional, sexual or physical abuses in their lifetime and how so many are forced to endure these unconceivable experiences. Let me clarify that this does not mean they did not suffer a tremendous trauma where they weren’t impacted, rather quite the contrary. The individuals profiled in this book, as well as many other everyday individuals have suffered, endured and accepted the situation and rather than just ‘get over it and go back to business as usual’ their resiliency activated them to make radical life choices, rebuild and restructure not only their individual perspective and lives but many also have made a tremendous impact on others as well. This can be via others gaining understanding and strength from their stories or on a much larger scale where the individuals resulting choices are able to impact others who have survived similar traumas in a positive way.

Some noted factors these individuals all have in common:
Identification of Grounded Hope which is based in Grounded Theory Psychology. ‘Hope is defined as the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals, and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways. The adult and child hope scales that are derived from hope theory are described.’1

Not in denial or distorting reality.If one is denying the existence of something it is just not possible to address it. If one does not deny the stressor but has a distorted perception meaning, they are not fully accepting of all the factors and omit, misperceive or change the situation in their view it will again be an obstacle to addressing the reality of the situation.

Acceptance of what could not be changed. Acceptance and willingness to accept, go a long way in making any situation tolerable and workable. Acceptance is not being okay with nor approving of its occurrence. It is however the admission of the reality of the situation without distortions

Humility in self perception. These individuals do not view themselves as extraordinary but as just like everyone else. Every one of these individuals were deeply in their struggles and would never have predict that their resulting actions would be what they would later become.

A point of note that many from the book stated was their approach was not using ‘Positive thinking’ that it didn’t help and felt like a lie”. Their process was not cloaked in the belief that changing thoughts to positive thinking alone was how they found their path from finding their strength through trauma.

The beauty of this book, for me, is not only does it profile the resiliency, strength and hope of the individuals despite all but also provides the latest medical research that substantiates the experiences for us to gain a greater understanding.

I would strongly recommend this not only to individuals struggling with tragedy

Further Reading:


1-Snyder, C. R. (2002). Hope theory: Rainbows in the mind. Psychological Inquiry, 13, 249-275

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