Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

Dyson Year In Review 15-16

Dyson College of Arts and Sciences - Year in Review 2011-2012

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22 | Dyson Year in Review The power of dogs is central to Kimberly Collica-Cox's Parenting, Prison and Pups program for incarcerated women. Collica-Cox, a professor of criminal justice and security and an expert in inmate rehabilitation, is leading the development of this first-of-its- kind program to use dog-assisted therapy to enhance prisoner-parenting classes for female inmates. In partnership with the Good Dog Foundation and local New York correctional facilities, the program's goal is to improve communication between inmates and their children, both of whom experience trauma, anxiety and stress as a result of their separation from one another, and ultimately reduce recidivism. Lending A Paw It is not easy to imagine a survivor of a mass shooting benefitting from such a terrifying rampage. It is uncomfortable to ponder whether or not a refugee fleeing war might benefit from the trauma. But, what if ? Do people directly benefit from events of emotional trauma? Associate Professor of Psychology Anthony Mancini and colleagues from East Carolina University and Boston University dared to ask these questions, and they found that some victims do, in fact, experience direct psychological benefits after a traumatic event. They found that in the aftermath of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, 15% of 368 female student survivors actually improved in their levels of anxiety and depression. Not only are the findings surprising, but to date, this is the only study to examine and establish the positive psychological effects of trauma directly. Shared pain is a "social glue," bringing about feelings of closeness, forgiveness, and cooperation. What Mancini and his colleagues found is that the increased social connection following acute trauma also effects healing. "I think the study showed that the affects of trauma are more complex than we often assume. It isn't that traumas aren't potentially damaging. They are. But they are not always damaging. Sometimes they are paradoxically beneficial." The work of Mancini and his colleagues contributes significantly to a fuller understanding of the faceted dimensions of trauma. Can Trauma Have Psychological Benefits? Research Proves It Can

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