Transformation after Trauma

The Power of Resonance

by Yabome Gilpin-Jackson (Author)
©2020 Monographs XIV, 166 Pages


This book expands on the idea of transformation after trauma through the concept of Resonance and provides practical guidance for accessing it. Resonance is presented as the key to posttraumatic growth and transformation and is defined as a moment of awakening, through personal stories, that creates an opportunity for transformative learning. This book presents an integrative, holistic and narrative development understanding to individual, organizational and social systems change and transformation after trauma. It proposes a Trauma-Informed Narrative Development Pathway for consideration at all levels of systems and institutions who support people post-trauma. Resonance is critical, timely, and relevant now more than ever. As we continue to work for a world of social justice where preventable sufferings are no longer normalized, a posttraumatic transformation lens allows us to take a developmental perspective to supporting ourselves and those among us touched by trauma to achieve transformational outcomes. In a world with ongoing suffering, the ability to return to core identity memories and access greater connection and love for humanity unleashes the desire to take actions to create a better world for all.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Resonance & Transformation
  • Chapter 2 Resonance & Trauma
  • Chapter 3 The Role of Resilience in Transformation
  • Chapter 4 Resonance in Transforming Individual Trauma
  • Chapter 5 Resonance in Transforming Organization Trauma
  • Chapter 6 Resonance in Transforming Systemic Trauma
  • Chapter 7 Facilitating for Resonance: Setting the Context
  • Chapter 8 Facilitating for Resonance: The Practices
  • Chapter 9 Facilitating for Resonance: A Transformation Framework
  • Chapter 10 A Resonant Conclusion: Trauma-Informed Narrative Development
  • Index

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She was telling me about the moment that moved her forward and changed her life. “It was that moment. I was chosen to introduce the [university president]. I’m like, ‘Who am I to be introducing him?’ So there were many moments where I just saw myself being uplifted.” She was animated in her telling. She the storyteller. Me the life story interviewer. It was near impossible not to be pulled in by her exuberance and brightness. I leaned in. I maintained a smile, offering no other affirmations or negations as she told her story, yet drinking in every word. I’m certain that if I’d videotaped the session and we reviewed it without sound you would not guess that she was sharing a life of transformation that started out of the trauma of war.

The trio, leaders in their NGO organization, were huddled together closely. They were considering closing shop altogether. From my vantage point I could see the intensity in their body language, in the fervency of their conversation as they leaned-in close to each other. I saw tears wiped away from one’s face. The others looked like they were equally holding tight to pent-up emotions. In the debrief that followed the small group conversations I invited them into a Story Circle. I made it clear that no one in the workshop was under any obligation to share where they had arrived. I was struck by the change in their demeanours, the relief and brightness in their eyes when they chose to share with the whole group. They told us that when they looked through the lens of Resonance, they shifted from what they had named a Culture of Profound Loss and Sorrow to a Culture of Resonance, Resilience and Transformation.

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I listened to the Ted Talk1 with increasing interest. The narrator told of the situation in the South side of Chicago, where he, a potter, led the reimagining of a community in a state of increasing dilapidation, amid growing abandoned buildings. He described how he saw himself as central to transforming the community: “In some ways, it feels very much like I’m a potter, that we tackle the things that are at our wheel, we try with the skill that we have to think about this next bowl that I want to make. And it went from a bowl to a singular house, to a block, to a neighborhood, to a cultural district, to thinking about the city, and at every point, there were things that I didn’t know that I had to learn.” The more I listened, the more I thought—He’s operating from Resonance through his experiences as a potter and the imagery of pottery.

What do the scenarios above have in common? What can you understand about trauma and transformation from these stories—for individuals, groups in organizations and entire communities? All three of the situations above describe what I have come to label Resonance. But what is Resonance?

Resonance: That moment or moments when transformation happens. When lives are changed for the better. When you are fundamentally changed and propelled to action on what matters to you. Once you get to Resonance, there’s no looking back from what it calls you to. It’s the moment when people, groups, and organizations or whole communities start to realize transformation.

In the first scenario, it was the moment when a student who had arrived in Canada from a refugee camp remembered that she was good enough when she was selected to introduce the university president. She had after all, left a middle-class family and was already in university before war broke out. As she remembered her past in that moment, she determined to keep thriving—to keep working hard to make life better for other refugees and the most vulnerable in society.

In the second scenario, Resonance happened in the moment the trio shared their reasons, from their personal life stories, for being connected to the purpose of the NGO they were fighting to keep alive. It was remembering their personal reasons that helped them craft the way forward for their organization—from a Culture of Profound Loss and Sorrow to a Culture of Resonance, Resilience and Transformation. Lastly, it ←2 | 3→was the remembrance of the potter’s forgotten community in the South side of Chicago that fueled his passion for rebuilding the community. He articulated that passion through the metaphor of pottery. This aligns with the storytelling nature of Resonance, through which symbolism and metaphor can be used to express it.

[noun] Resonancea moment of awakening, through personal stories, that opens space or creates an opportunity for transformative learning.


XIV, 166
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (October)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. XIV, 166 pp., 9 b/w ill., 9. tables.

Biographical notes

Yabome Gilpin-Jackson (Author)

Yabome Gilpin-Jackson is an award-winning scholar, Organization Development Consultant, and writer. She is an Executive Leader within the public sector, Founder and Principal of SLD Consulting and Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.


Title: Transformation after Trauma
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182 pages