Trauma and Resilience: Why Some Female Survivors Are More Resilient Than Others
As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who went into hiding, Rachel Lev has always been fascinated by the resilience of people who survive extreme trauma. Her father’s story was one reason, among others, that she collaborated on Collective Trauma, Collective Recovery: Promoting Community Resilience in the Aftermath of Disaster, a book that examines resilience in the face of political genocide and natural disaster. After finishing this study, Lev spent years working with women who survived genocide as well as domestic and sexual violence. A question guiding Lev’s academic and therapeutic work has been: Why are some women more resilient than others?
Drawing from neuroscience and genetics, Lev takes a biopsychosocial approach in examining resilience. She asks: What strengths and weaknesses are we born with? Which strengths and weaknesses do we develop as we face extreme challenges? How does the brain handle trauma, and what happens to the brain following multiple traumas?