Thriving in a Post Pandemic World: Applying Psychological Science to Enhance People’s Lives
I am passionate about ways we can utilize our expertise as psychology researchers, practitioners, educators, and consultants to empower individuals, communities, and nations to thrive. I believe we can use our psychological science to develop, evaluate, disseminate, and apply strategies to enhance people’s lives. Based in my work in recovery from past and on-going crises, stressors, and traumas, I see these five keys emerging from our collective work as psychologists:
To recover from the pandemic and other challenges of these times, we must address the multiple traumas and losses people have faced and continue to face (inclusive of interpersonal traumas, medical traumas (from diagnosis to experience of symptoms and within medical delivery systems), natural disasters, and the societal trauma of oppression)
a) Understanding the prevalence, dynamics, and effects of diverse traumas on individuals and communities
b) Continuous development, dissemination, and evaluation of evidence-based, culturally responsive interventions
c) Continuous development, dissemination, and evaluation of evidence-based and culturally responsive prevention strategies
Acknowledging the current presidential initiative on addressing health disparities to achieve health equity, there is an urgent need for us to continue our work toward equity and liberation. Inequities and oppression have created some disparities and exacerbated others in the midst of the pandemic. These inequities must not only be acknowledged but actively dismantled not only through legislation and policy but also through psychological interventions.
a) Continue to move from documenting inequity to using psychologically sound methods to promote measurable indicators of equity
b) Attend to intersectionality in particular (communities that live with multiple marginalized identities and experiences of oppression)
c) Application of anti-oppression approaches in our teaching, research, practice, and consultation nationally and globally
Our science and practice, as well as indigenous approaches to wellness demonstrate the importance of a holistic approach. Numerous psychological interventions have highlighted the integration of the body, spirituality, and culture in their design and dissemination efforts. The work of these psychologists should be highlighted as we seek to enhance resilience and well-being from a strengths-based approach.
a) Promote the science and practice of holistic interventions that incorporate body-based methods
b) Promote the science, practice, and teaching of interventions that ethically and respectfully integrate people’s spiritual and religious orientations
c) Promote interventions that emerge from cultural communities so that community members are served in ways that attend to not only cultural oppression but cultural identity, STRENGTHS, and resources
To address the effects of the safety precautions of social distancing and the growing levels of division and distrust, psychology needs to and build help restore a sense of belonging, trust, and community.
a) Applying science of addressing ruptures in trust
b) Applying science of protective factors for resilient, organized communities
c) Applying science of fostering a sense of belonging in diverse spaces
Building on psychological science on the role of the arts in promoting trauma recovery, healing, growth, and cohesion building. Expressive arts have been a therapeutic tool to enhance communication, connection, processing of painful memories, and visualization of possible futures. Our work as psychologists can continue to document and disseminate the potential application of art as a healing medium for individuals, families, and communities.
a) Highlighting inclusion of creativity and the arts in psychotherapy
b) Highlighting research on creativity and the arts in prevention programming
c) Disseminating research on the benefits of arts in community as a tool for advocacy and for arts inclusion throughout communities who are rebuilding post-pandemic