The Shift From the Authority of Experts to the Innate Wisdom of Individuals and Communities

One of the world's most abundant resources, those who have been traumatized, can themselves pave the way to building a better future. It is possible for communities to regain the promise of our human birthright to activate our potential and pursue a purposeful life.  Communities can change conditions at the grass roots level.  

The Community Self-Care Demonstration Program (CSDP) teaches individuals in traumatized communities how to help each other. Within a structure and forum of safety they can tell and resolve their stories and thus bring about their mutual healing and the restoration of community resilience.

The CSDP has been designed for communities who need and want to rebuild and return to strength, health, self-determination, and successful self-reliance.

The program uses the fundamentals of an evidence-based cognitive narrative approach and can be taught to anyone who wishes to help themselves and others. With the recognition that we are each the expert and authority on our own experience and are endowed with innate wisdom, without intrusion, we become the agents and arbiters of our own healing.

We each have our own personal experience of the events of our lives. We must tell our stories. And we must listen to each other. This telling and this listening is our path to individual and, thus, community health and strength. 

Non-Medical, Non-Religious

The CSDP is a non-medical, non-diagnostic, non-pathologizing and, therefore, non-stigmatizing option to changing conditions for the better. We don't ask what's wrong, we simply ask... teach the individuals in the community to ask, "What happened?" And within the context of their own world view, their own cultural and religious values, their own understanding of their origin and spirituality, individuals in diverse communities can explore and resolve past and present challenges.

The very real possibility of health and peace in functioning communities exists. By appraising the tremendous challenges, posing the right problems, and applying the solutions to overcome them, community programs are making an impact. We can turn the tide and gain ground, given the right tools to work with.

Community = A group of people who have experienced the same or similar adverse life experience or a peer group who have the best chance of hearing and understanding each other.

Self-Care = Communities helping themselves by individual members helping each other to put the past where it belongs, in the past, reclaim their lives, and regain their resilience and ability to attend to life and find pleasure in living.

Demonstration = Showing the world that it works through pre and posttests, evaluations, and testimonials - a model for healing for communities globally.

Program = Highly structured and with clear objectives determined by the community and achieved step-by-step.  When completed, the community may own the CSDP and replicate it as needed and wanted.

The Community Self-Care Demonstration Program is a working name. Each time the program is implemented in a community, they give it a name that reflects their hopes and expectations for the program. 

Let people tell their story, tell of their pain. And let others listen. We discovered that in the telling, people begin to experience a healing.
— Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.

When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery.

When the “action of telling a story” has come to its conclusion, the traumatic experience truly belongs to the past.
— Judith Herman, M.D. Author of Trauma and Recovery, The Aftermath of Violence
A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well intentioned words.
— Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D from Kitchen Table Wisdom
I don’t need you to fix me. I just need you to listen to me.
— survivor of political violence
If we are able to be good listeners, we will discover that it is possible for people to heal themselves.
— Margaret Wheatley, Speaking our Suffering
Therapy is about people resolving their own internal world.

People come to their own wisdom and resolve their experience.
— Dr. Bessel van der Kolk