Crystal ParkCrystal L. Park, Ph.D., is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on religious beliefs and religious coping, the phenomenon of stress-related growth, and the making of meaning in the context of traumatic events and life-threatening illnesses, particularly cancer and congestive heart failure.  She is currently conducting studies of yoga for stress-management and developing a research tool to assess the essential properties of yoga. She is Co-Author of the forthcoming Spirituality, Meaning and Trauma and Co-Editor of The Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality and Medical Illness and Positive Life Change: Can Crisis Lead to Personal Transformation?

Dr. Park will be presenting a Keynote on Trauma and Recovery: A Meaning-Making Perspective.


Trauma and Recovery: A Meaning-Making Perspective

Meaning is central in human life, and this centrality comes to the fore when individuals confront traumatic events. This presentation reviews current conceptual and empirical work on meaning in the context of trauma and recovery.  The meaning-making perspective asserts that people possess global meaning systems comprising core beliefs and goals.  These meaning systems drive people’s interpretations and motives in everyday life. Traumatic events are those that are interpreted as being highly incongruent with one’s global beliefs and goals. Meaning making processes involve changing either global meaning or interpretations of the traumatic event to restore congruence between them.  As this presentation demonstrates, many contemporary trauma interventions are based on variants of the meaning making model. An explicit focus on how issues of meaning underlie trauma and recovery facilitates our understanding of trauma and recovery and promotes greater clinical effectiveness.

Learning Objectives:

This presentation is designed to help you

1. Summarize the theoretical framework of trauma and meaning-making

2. Explain the integrative advantages of a meaning-making framework in integrating contemporary accounts of trauma and trauma treatment

3. Apply a meaning-making perspective in assessing and treating people who have experienced trauma