General semantics is concerned with how events translate to perceptions, how they are further modified by the names and labels we apply to them, and how we might gain a measure of control over our own responses, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral.
Trauma can be defined as an event that is experienced as deeply disturbing and distressing. Typically, psychological trauma is distinguished from physical trauma which involves some kind of bodily injury, wound, or harm, although psychological trauma can lead to somatic effects, and physical trauma is often accompanied by its psychological counterpart.
How can we better understand the experience of trauma? What are the roles played by perception, language, and memory in our experience of traumatic events, and their aftereffects? How is trauma recognized, and repressed? What are the therapeutic approaches to coping with trauma? Is it possible for us, as human beings, to prepare ourselves for the possibilities of traumatic encounters?
These and other questions were taken up by our panelists as we discussed a topic that deserves serious consideration. The participants on this program are as follows:
Michelle S. Kramisen has her MA in Literature with a concentration in war literature and trauma theory from State University of New York, New Paltz. Currently based out of New York City, she teaches college writing and research courses including a course this semester on zombies and trauma, at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her chapter, “Confronting Trauma in the Zombie Apocalypse: Witnessing, Survivor Guilt, and Postmemory,” was recently published in a collection on media studies. She has presented on trauma, war literature, and media studies at conferences around the country.
Lori Ramos earned her PhD in Media Ecology from New York University. Her early research and scholarship explored the role of media in shaping conceptions of and attitudes toward literacy. More recently, her interests in communication have evolved to include psychotherapy and the impact of trauma. She has received an MSW from Fordham University with a focus on clinical social work and also completed EMDR training for trauma therapy. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey and a staff therapist at Blanton-Peale Institute and Counseling Center in New York City.
Matthew Butler enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1994, was assigned as a Combat Correspondent and attended the Defense Information School studying basic journalism, photojournalism, and military public relations. He is a combat veteran with deployments to Fallujah, Iraq, Helmond Province, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and South America. Matt's decorations include two Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Commendation Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and two Humanitarian Assistance Medals for response to humanitarian crisis in Djibouti and Kenya on two separate occasions. After retiring from the Marines in 2014, Matt completed his undergraduate degree in Organizational Leadership and is now the Director of Military and Veterans' Services at Fordham University where he assists service members and veterans with transitioning from the military to higher education, supports academic integration, career preparation and planning, health and wellness support, and connecting veterans with mentors, both student veteran mentors, and corporate partners. Matt has hosted panel discussions about PTS and Moral Injuries and continuous to be a strong advocate for veterans. Matt works closely with New York City's Department of Veterans' Services and is Executive Member of Veterans on Campus NYC, a public-private venture to support service members and veterans making the transition to colleges and universities in New York City.
The discussion was moderated by Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, President of the New York Society for General Semantics, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics, author of several books including Media Ecology: An Approach to Understanding the Human Condition (2017), and On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essays on General Semantics and Media Ecology (2011), and co-editor of several anthologies including Korzybski And... (2012).
It was a program that tackled a topic of profound significance and concern!