Keynote: CIC 2017

Resiliency and Healing in the Aftermath of Violence in Marginalized Communities

Dr. James Garbarino

Maude C. Clarke Professor in Humanistic Psychology
Senior Faculty Fellow, Center for the Human Rights of Children
Loyola University

This presentation will offer an “ecological perspective” on trauma as a challenge to human development. At the core of an ecological perspective is the recognition that because developmental always takes place “in context.” Thus there are few absolutes, and when the question is, “Does X cause Y?” the best scientific answer is usually, “it depends.” This focuses attention on how resilience and healing in the aftermath of violence are linked to cultural and community issues (as well as individual temperament and resources). For example, when unresolved trauma leads to a chronic pattern of aggression, bad behavior, acting out and violating the rights of others (“conduct disorder”), the links to violent delinquency are much greater in “high risk” neighborhoods than in “low risk” neighborhoods (four times greater in one study). Similarly, when trauma precipitates mental health crises, the form these crises take may be linked to social factors such as the degree to which an individual is embedded in a “culture of violence.” Similarly, components of resilience are themselves linked to the accumulation of risk factors and developmental assets, and these in turn are linked to the forces that create and sustain “marginality” in communities. This analysis is based upon the presenter’s books Listening to Killers (2015), Lost Boys (1999), See Jane Hit (2006), Children and the Dark Side of Human Experience (2010), and his forthcoming Miller’s Children: How the Supreme Court Opened the Prison Door for Rehabilitated Teenage Killers (2018).