Welcome! A note from Catherine...

On pursuing well-being after traumatic loss

This project isn’t about me, but it did start with me. Years ago, while I was recovering from a traumatic injury, I sketched a “healing map” to try to articulate what the first year of recovery after huge accident feels like. 

Interestingly, while I included lots of physical benchmarks, the main moments that stuck with me were emotional and relational. These experience benchmarks were how I felt about myself, and my sense of agency: changes in my resilience, purpose, belonging, connectedness, and sense of meaning.

Looking at my map, I realized — every one of these aspects changed depending on who was around me, investing in my life (or, not…) at the time!

When I sketched a map of my first year healing from grief and the loss of a very loved one, these same healing benchmarks showed up. Even though the two losses felt, and were, radically different. In both, I could clearly see the seasons where I flourished through the care from others, and moved into new senses of meaning and purpose; and the seasons where I felt stuck and terribly alone.  

My healing journey*
*After Year 1! Year 2+ would have additional loops & new benchmarks...
My healing journey*
*After Year 1! Year 2+ might have more loops & new benchmarks...

Healing hidden in plain sight

We each experience major loss in life. And we can’t heal from these losses alone. Our medical, scientific, religious, and social contexts deliver some support and value, but it's usually fragmented, inconsistent, isolated, or too little too late. In reality, insights into what helps us heal are everywhere, and people who know something profound about healing are all around us. But right now, it’s up to each of us to find and connect these insights and people, largely on our own. That's the so obvious, it’s invisible” gap I am building into — healing is relational. Not just because we need each other to heal, but because all of us do.

Starting principles

As a journalist & a designer, I care about listening to people close to a problem. I'm dedicated to bringing people together to build from what we know, for what we love. So, from the ground up, this project is:

  • Collaborative by design Because to heal together, we’ll need to listen, imagine, and create together
  • Building from scientific rigor & social context Data can tell us about what it means to heal well, and our souls can tell us, too
  • Open to experts & the everyday Siloes created a fragmented healing landscape — connecting across diverse expertise and lived experiences will transform it

From these principles, The Social Healing Project was born. I’m excited for you to take a look around, and join us.

What does healing feel like for you?

How would you sketch your own healing journey? Do you see some pieces of your own experience in this map? What looks different — and what would you add? Try sketching out your own healing map, and add your experiences to our Community Healing Journey in the comments below!