Beyond Resilience and PTSD: Flexibility and Heterogeneity Following Potential Trauma – Dec 8

Beyond Resilience and PTSD: 

Flexibility and Heterogeneity Following Potential Trauma

Presenter: Prof. George A. Bonanno, Ph.D.

Columbia University

Monday, Dec. 8, 7-9  pm
Teachers College, 525 West 120th St.,
Room 305, Russell Hall
RSVP to by REPLY to this e-mail (

Please bring photo ID for entry to building.


Most of us  are exposed to multiple potentially traumatic events (PTEs) during the course of our lives.  Such events are more common than is usually assumed.

Until recently, responses to such events have been understood using either psychopathological categories, such as PTSD, or measures of central tendency (e.g., average differences).

I demonstrate that although both approaches have been useful, neither approach captures the true heterogeneity of responses to aversive events. Recent advances in latent trajectory modeling following such events have identified prototypical trajectories of outcome, including chronic dysfunction and a resilient trajectory of stable health.

In this talk, I will describe studies from our research program that examine individual differences in response to demanding life events, including terrorist disaster, military combat, mass shooting, spinal cord injury, bio-epidemic, and cancer surgery. I will also describe our research on predictors of the resilience trajectory and place special emphasis on our recent research on flexibility in coping and emotion regulation as a resilience-promoting factor.

George A. Bonanno, Ph.D. is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Loss, Trauma, and Emotion Lab at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Professor Bonanno’s interests center on the question of how human beings cope with loss, trauma and other forms of extreme adversity, with an emphasis on resilience and the salutary role of flexible emotion regulatory processes. Professor Bonanno’s empirical and theoretical work has focused on defining and documenting resilience in the face of loss or potential traumatic events, including disaster, loss, terrorist attack, bio-epidemic, traumatic injury, and life-threatening injuries medical events, and on identifying the range of psychological and contextual variables that predict both psychopathological and resilient outcomes. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and featured in various print, television, and radio media. He recently authored The Other Side of Sadness (Basic Books).

Websites:  Loss, Trauma, and Emotion Lab:

The PURL II study:


Dinner: To augment the fellowship among members, you are warmly invited to join other members for dinner at Faculty House at 5:30 PM.  (After dinner we will walk to Teachers College, 10 minutes away).   Dinner at Faculty House, a varied and ample buffet (including wine), is $25, which must be paid for by check at the beginning of the meal.  If you intend to join us for dinner you must let us know via email a week in advance (by Monday, December  1.  RSVP to either Ron Gross (grossassoc@aolcom) or Michael Schulman (

Directions to Faculty House:
  Faculty House is located on Columbia University’s East Campus on Morningside Drive and 117th Street.  Enter Wien Courtyard through the gates on the north side of 116 Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. Walk toward the north end of the courtyard, then turn right toward Morningside Drive.  Faculty House will be the last building on the right.


The Seminars: This seminar is jointly sponsored by the Columbia University Seminars on Innovation in Education and Ethics, Moral Education, and Society.

The Seminar on Innovation in Education is chaired by Ronald Gross, who also conducts the Socratic Conversations at the Gottesman Libraries. Founded in 1970, the Seminar explores the process of learning in individuals, organizations, and society throughout the lifespan and via major institutions.

The Seminar on Ethics, Moral Education and Society, chaired by Michael Schulman,  brings together scholars from psychology, philosophy, sociology, political theory, education, religion and other disciplines to explore issues in ethics, moral education, moral development, moral motivation, moral decision making and related topics.


Future meetings for the 2014-2015 academic year: Jan. 26, Mar. 2, Apr. 13, May 4.


Columbia University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities.  University Seminar participants with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact the Office of Disability Services at 212-854-2388 or  Disability accommodations, including sign-language interpreters, are available on request.  Requests for accommodations must be made two weeks in advance.  On campus, seminar participants with disabilities should alert a Public Safety Officer that they need assistance accessing campus.


Michael Schulman, chair, Ethics, Moral Education, and Society,

Ron Gross, co-chair, Innovation in Education,