By Mark Bekoff, Psychology Today, July 10, 2019.
An outstanding forward-looking new book called Transforming Trauma: Resilience and Healing Through Our Connections With Animals recently crossed my desk and it's my pleasure to spread the word about it through an interview with its editors, Philip Tedeschi and Molly Anne Jenkins of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. Transforming Trauma is a book many people have long waited for. The outstanding original transdisciplinary essays by renowned scholars cover a wide array of topics, all of which focus on nonhuman animals' (animals) ability to help us learn the importance of forming and maintaining deep, meaningful, and reciprocal relationships with them and other human animals. These range from an analysis of the interpersonal neurobiological implications of connections with other animals to the power of play — just having a good old time with others. There also are informed discussions of the ethical considerations of relationships with nonhumans and the importance of recognizing, appreciating, respecting, and honoring nonhuman sentience and the neurodiversity of these remarkable beings. In an increasing human-dominated world, nonhuman animals need all the help they can get and this seminal volume deserves a broad global audience.
I previously wrote about two chapters in this landmark book because of my interest in how nonhumans fare in our relationships with them, and I keep going back to Transforming Trauma for more details about all aspects of our relationships with other animals. (See "Are Therapy Dogs Always Stressed: The well-being of dogs and other therapy animals demands careful study" and "The Healing Power of Geese and Other Animals.") Below is an interview with editors Mr. Tedeschi and Ms. Jenkins.