Beauty from Brokenness

Jenifer Williams LPC-S, LPA

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Leading Change that Matters

Learning to Lead Change that Matters

Thank you for visiting my counseling website.  Please note that I am not currently accepting new private clients.  The nonprofit Humanitarian Outreach for Migrant Emotional Health (H.O.M.E.), where I serve as Executive Director, welcomes referrals for pro bono forensic mental health assessments for humanitarian immigration cases. 

The slow, excruciating months after a trauma experience of my own left me with an overwhelming desire to create meaning from my pain by developing something precious and useful for others. 

We’ve all seen trauma-inspired service in news reports--survivors who rise from life’s darkest places to offer light.  Survivors whose pain turns them into social change agents.  But when I tried to figure out how to achieve this, I got stuck.  I found nothing in the scientific journals to point the way forward. 

And it wasn’t just me feeling stuck.  When I listened, I began to hear us everywhere: a teen cancer patient who wanted to help the homeless, a bereaved mother who longed to prevent other suicides.  A few succeeded, but many only dreamed.  We needed direction.

Over the next few years, I completed a doctorate in leadership with a dissertation on trauma-inspired leadership.  My initial research suggested key elements of posttraumatic leadership development for leaders with a variety of trauma types, leadership areas, and cultural backgrounds.  Here are a few:

  1. Develop a larger perspective – When your leadership journey gets stuck, find larger solutions by learning to see the next level.
  2. Practice resilience – Tap into the resilience you learned through trauma and grow it to reach your new goals.
  3. Build relationships – Tap into your own difficult experiences to provide compassion and courage to others.
  4. Acknowledge problems – Develop leadership through personal authenticity

I draw from both my fields--psychology and leadership--to guide survivors who wish to develop these traits and to grow their posttraumatic leadership potential.  Training participants learn to identify negative and positive effects of trauma, and they will discover how effective leaders have navigated the healing process to benefit themselves and others. 

The training provides practical steps trauma-inspired leaders can take to increase their effectiveness by developing new perspectives, increasing resilience, acknowledging the need for healing, and connecting with others. 

This training is available through individual leadership coaching or can be tailored to the needs of any group, large or small, multi-cultural and multi-lingual, and specific or mixed trauma types. 

My hope is to promote leadership among survivors in devalued groups--those whose trauma happened because of their national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexual identity, religion, economic status, or other vulnerable status.  These individuals are uniquely positioned to make a difference in the world, and the training is designed to guide that process. 

Williams, J. W., & Allen, S. (2015). Trauma-Inspired Prosocial Leadership Development. Journal of Leadership Education14(3).

Williams, J. (2013). From pain to purpose: Journeys of trauma inspired leaders.  University of LaVerne, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. 3579703.

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