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About Common Shock

A ground-breaking work from a renowned trauma expert reveals a problem that profoundly affects us all — and shows what we can do about it.

Every single day, whether we realize it or not, we witness and are affected by violence— often with serious, long-term consequences.

At times the violence is extraordinary, impossible to neglect: the terrorist attacks of 9/11 make us anxious—even panicky—unable to sleep. More often the violence is mundane: the customer ahead of us in the cafeteria line berates the cashier and we feel inexplicably edgy for hours. Most of the time we don't even notice: our 12-year-old watches a murder on television (one of the more than 100,000 acts of TV violence he has seen by that age) and zones out.

In her revolutionary new book, Common Shock, Harvard Medical School psychologist Kaethe Weingarten, Ph.D., defines a problem that up until now had no name. Drawing on the latest scientific research and her years of clinical and community experience, Kaethe Weingarten describes common shock— the biological and psychological responses that are triggered when we witness violence. It is common, because it happens all the time, to everyone in any community. It is a shock, because whether our response is spaciness, distress, or bravado, it affects our mind, body and spirit.

Addressing the full range of violence we all experience, Dr. Weingarten then offers us tools to take effective action, including:

• How to manage the physical symptoms of common shock
• How to cope with the suffering of those who are ill or dying
• How parents can help children who witness violence
• How ordinary citizens can make a difference

Practical, hopeful, and inspirational, this breakthrough guide lets us discover what we can do in our homes and neighborhoods to transform common shock into a compassionate prescription for healing ourselves, our families, our communities, and the world.