Dr Bev Smallwood

Sample Questions

1. Some say, “Time heals all wounds.” Is that true?

2. After a tragic event, why do many people feel like they’re going crazy?

3. When adversity strikes, what is the greatest antidote for that horrible feeling of powerlessness?

Choice 1: Denial vs. Reality

4. You say that the first choice is “denial vs. reality.” Is denial always a bad thing?

5. They say, “The truth hurts.” What should people know about that?

6. Are there different types of denial?

7. What kinds of questions could you ask yourself to move more into the realm of reality?

Choice 2: Victimhood vs. Responsibility

8. What’s the difference between having been “victimized” and “becoming a chronic victim?”

9. How could members of our audience know if they’ve slipped into that victim mentality?

10. Some members of the audience may be dealing with someone who has that victim mentality, and they’ve wondered, “Why on earth would someone choose to live the miserable life of a victim?” Why is that?

11. If you find yourself thinking like a victim, what should you do to get out of it?

Choice 3: Why vs. How

12. When tragedy strikes, many of us are full of questions: Why did this have to happen? Why did it happen to me? Why didn’t I see it coming? What if…” Why do you think we constantly ask questions like these?

13. A common question our audience members may ask after life drops a bombshell is, “Why?” Yet you say that “How?” is a better question. Will you explain?

14. What are some of those “how” questions?

15. What do you do about the tendency to get stuck in “what if?”

Choice 4: Doubt vs. Faith

16. Many people find that adversity shakes their faith. They wonder things like, “Why did God let this happen?” Does tragedy more often shake a person’s faith or strengthen their faith?

17. Some people get mad at God, feeling that God let them down by not protecting them or their loved ones from harm. How can they work through that disappointment without becoming cold and cynical?

18. What part does faith, particularly religious faith, play in how someone deals with tough times? Is there any scientific research to back that up?

19. How can adversity actually make faith stronger?

Choice 5: Bitterness vs. Forgiveness

20. Why is it so hard to forgive?

21. Isn’t it good to be angry sometimes? So how do you know if it’s become harmful?

22. What if the person who harmed you has not apologized and is not sorry?

23. What are some of the things that keep us from forgiving?

24. What is forgiveness, really?

25. If you really forgive, will you forget?

26. How do you actually forgive? What steps do you take?

Choice 6: Guilt vs. Self-Forgiveness

27. Sometimes the most difficult task is to forgive yourself. Why is that true?

28. You say there is constructive guilt and there’s destructive guilt. How can our audience members tell the difference?

29. How can we overcome that destructive guilt?

30. If you forgive yourself, will all bad feelings immediately go away?

Choice 7: Isolation vs. Connection

31. At a time when we need people most after tragedy or loss has occurred, we often find ourselves wanting to isolate. Why is that?

32. Isn’t it good to have some time alone to think?

33. If you just don’t feel like being with people, why should you push yourself to be with people?

34. If you’ve been isolated, what are some small steps you could take to re-engage with people without overwhelming yourself?

Choice 8: Depression vs. Grief

35. Almost everyone experiences some sadness after they go through a significant loss. What’s the difference between depression and grief, and why is that important?

36. Are there some risk factors for developing clinical depression when you’re grieving?

37. Some of our audience members are very good at keeping their emotions in control. Yet you say, “You gain control by giving up control.” What do you mean by that?

38. You say that anger is not necessarily a stage of grief as some claim, but can actually be an inhibitor of healthy grief. Help us understand that?

39. How long should grief last, and is there any way to speed it up?

Choice 9: Avoidance vs. Courage

40. It’s probably natural to want to avoid things that remind you of a very bad experience. Why would that cause problems?

41. What are some of the ways people use avoidance in an unhealthy way?

42. What is the secret for overcoming avoidance and moving back into a normal life?

43. You talk about choosing courage. Does that mean you won’t be scared?

Choice 10: Powerlessness vs. Purpose

44. Some people cope with tragedy by saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” What do you think about that?

45. Why is the discovery or rediscovery of purpose such a powerful part of the healing process?

46. Is it good to dive right into a cause after you’ve gone through tragedy yourself?

47. What questions can you ask yourself to discover your life purpose?

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