Susan Angel Miller
Discovering the concept of post-traumatic growth (PTG) made me more determined than ever to publish my memoir. It was no longer just my personal story of grief and trauma that I wanted to share, but a more realistic message of hope: that we all have the ability to gain wisdom and growth through adversity.
Ever since my book launch, I’ve engaged in many meaningful discussions with my readers and audience members and am looking forward to many more!
While these conversations focus on varying losses and struggles, the themes and insights are strikingly similar. We each need to give ourselves permission to trust our instincts as we regain our equilibrium and return to our new normal. We might not be able to predict what or when that next bad event will be, but we can control our response.
Similar realizations emerge from my presentations. Growth does not mean the absence of distress, courage doesn’t exist without fear, and we often carry sadness and joy at the same time. That is the bittersweet reality and beauty of being human.
These life-changing conversations are why I love what I do!
After hearing my personal story audience members walk away with a greater sense of hope and the understanding that everyone has the capacity to gain wisdom and psychological growth following trauma and loss.
I intentionally share vulnerable details of my family’s story of grief and trauma and the resulting personal growth that’s emerged over the past decade. I talk about ways to decrease the awkwardness surrounding grief and increase resilience. I also highlight my family’s experience being an organ donor family and the extraordinary bond that has developed with my daughter’s organ recipient.
Opening up to the audience in this way encourages meaningful conversations and deepened connections. My goal is to make people feel safe as they share their own personal struggles and ask questions. We learn from each other and take away new perspectives on how to find strength by confronting the pain and struggling with the event’s meaning.
In addition to facilitating an informal dialogue with my audience about these difficult topics, I also provide practical tips and offer resources on how to accept help from friends and family as well as ways to show up for the people we care about.
Speaking to Your Group or Organization
Nobody is immune from grief, trauma, or illness, and yet we are not taught how to behave when faced with these hurdles. Our westernized society doesn’t do these topics well.
My talks are relevant for people of all walks of life: anyone who fears when that next bad event will occur and wonders how they will survive, to those who have endured grief and loss and want to hear other perspectives. My style and heart are open to folks across all socio-economic, gender, and racial demographics.
As the keynote speaker at annual meetings, religious and community organizations, organ-donation events, and book clubs, I tailor each presentation based on the needs of the group. The crux of my message though is consistent. I share what I’ve learned about managing life’s unexpected challenges and encourage folks to give themselves permission to recognize and nurture the hope and meaning they uncover along their journey.
- Practical skills to manage loss and illness
- Ways to enhance resilience and turn stress into inner strength
- Factors that contribute to pre- and post-traumatic growth
- Significance of creating a personal narrative and developing meaning and purpose
- Healing effects of organ donation from donor family perspective
- Opportunities to create community and develop a support network