Co-creating Resonant Societies in Times of Crises: Trauma, Polarization and Democracy

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This policy brief shines light on the complex interplay of trauma, societal polarization, multiple ongoing crises, and democracy. It highlights the need for a comprehensive sensemaking approach in times of crises and offers a new perspective on understanding collective trauma in the context of democracy.  

Key findings derived from the trauma-informed large group process presented in this policy paper suggest that participants, following such a process, experience an improved sensemaking, feel more connected to people around them, and experience themselves as increasingly motivated co-creators of society. 

Our findings indicate that trauma-informed large group processes, when combined with research tools focusing on storytelling and enabling participation, show promise in making diversity both mappable and tangible. This approach supports citizens to respond more effectively to ongoing crises and mitigates societal polarization.

To actively deal with feelings of division and experiences of separation among citizens and to meet the need for increased participation, social spaces should be created where citizens can experience a culture of dialogue. The next step involves the model-like implementation of trauma-informed processes on various political levels, possibly in connection to instruments of deliberative democracy.