One of the privileges of my career in higher education was experiencing the combined excitement of doing research with my own students. That process included discovering together what had been written about the topic, discussing what still needed to be investigated, creating a method for answering the question we chose to pursue, following that method, analyzing our results, and writing what we found for others in the academic and practice community. I virtually never did research with other faculty, not because of a lack of willingness but because of the high value I placed on the discovery process carried out in collaboration with my own students.

I place that value still on my writing. In my books, I am still exploring. I am still finding out what is known and describing that information. I am still formulating questions that remain to be answered. And I am still translating information into formats that can be received by readers who are going to put that information into use in some tangible way. But I am continuing to collaborate with others, my readers. You are in my mind as I write, and I am speaking to you and trying to hear your voices in return. Together we can discover, build, apply, and create.


My work focuses on meaning, particularly meaning that is achieved by persons after their experience of trauma. Meaning, like so many words we use frequently, is ambiguous. For me, meaning is a story, a narrative, and an arc over time. Meaning occurs in the space between: between me and God, between me and you, between you and others. Meaning gives color and light and detail to darkness. Meaning creates new life.

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

– Ezekiel 37:1-6 (NIV)