Evolve With Trauma book

In breaking the silence that surrounds experiences of frozen terror, invisibility, repeated violation and the entrapment of trauma, Dr Jeannie Higgins recognises and gives voice to the spiralling and often chaotic processes of victimisation.

This book asks crucial questions that are relevant in every part of our fragile and beautiful world, and responds with understanding and information drawn from the insightful offerings of traumatised people, psychological practice and research, the field of neuroscience and the wisdom traditions.

In Evolve with Trauma, Dr Higgins helps the reader to experience hope, wisdom and discernment -even amidst feelings of profound terror, rage, shame, disgust, devastation, despair and loss - and to learn to flourish in peace, compassion, love and joy.


This book is a pleasure to read: eloquent and powerful. I loved the personal stories, full of optimism, humanity, honesty and warmth. I would like to see it in every library, school, college, medical centre, domestic violence refuge, psychiatric ward, prison, drug rehabilitation and AA, legal aid, Public Trustee and advocates office.

Barrister and survivor of repeated childhood trauma

I like the juxtaposition of questions and answers; expanding on aspects of trauma and providing techniques to manage it. I have found reading this book very inspiring, thought-provoking, difficult, emotional, frustrating and gleeful. In other words, it covers lots of things that it should.

Child Sexual Abuse Counsellor & survivor of childhood trauma

This book really helped me understand the effects of my wife’s trauma experience and provides a framework for me to support her healing and growth.

Research Scientist, husband of a torture survivor and son of a WWII Prisoner of War, and personal survivor of severe emotional neglect

What an amazing work you have produced! I think it is wonderful and much needed for both workers and survivors of trauma.

Rape Crisis Counsellor and survivor of childhood trauma and neglect

Book Reviews

Australian Nurses Journal

Traumatic events can completely shatter our lives leaving us lost and over whelmed often leading to behaviour patterns of dependence, self neglect and self-abuse. Evolve with Trauma, written by Dr. Jeannie Higgins, a specialist in trauma who has worked with veterans, emergency workers, police, health professionals and survivors of rape, abuse and torture over her 30 years of practice as a clinical psychologist draws on the raw lived experiences of traumatised people to present us with alternatives and innovative methods to positively transform the self, the family, the community and society.

This book elaborates the insightful offerings of traumatised people and encourages the evaluation of outcomes based on the person’s quality of life. Issues associated with the traumatised person’s relationship with self are addressed directly, within their personally unique context so they can learn to evolve with trauma and begin to hope, flourish, laugh, dance and delight in living. This book is a must read for trauma survivors, their families, carers and health professionals.

Reviewed by Jodie Davis  Federal Education Officer, Australian Nursing Federation.

ACT Division of General Practice

“Evolve with trauma” is written by Dr Jeannie Higgins who is a Canberra psychologist with extensive experience and interest in all aspects of trauma. Her book is simply written making it accessible yet it provides an integration of the available knowledge, experience and research on the traumatic stress reaction. Despite it being aimed directly at the survivors of trauma, all those involved including supporters and health professionals will find this an excellent resource in providing insight and understanding.

The format of question and answer enables the book to be picked up at will. Case studies personalise the concepts and make the subject relevant, covering a broad range of different people including veterans and service personnel. Many of these people have suffered severe almost unthinkable trauma but Dr Higgins provides hope and optimism when following their journeys of empowerment and recovery. Her refreshing treatment approach is founded on evidence-based therapies but advice is given with compassion, safety and wisdom. The treatment encompasses simple practical steps as well as information on medical and other interventions.

This book is a valuable read for GPs treating traumatised patients and for those survivors of trauma.

Reviewed by Dr Brenda Tait, ACTDGP Mental Health GP Advisor and Rosemary Agnew, ACTDGP Program Officer.

ACT Law Society - Ethos Magazine August 2011

Dr Jeannie Higgins is clinical psychologist and a trauma specialist based in Canberra with over thirty years of experience in working with lawyers and their clients in the areas of criminal, compensation, family and human rights law.

She has recently published an excellent book called, “Evolve with Trauma: Become your own safe, compassionate and wise friend”. The book is an accessible resource to more comprehensively address the often hidden human and financial costs of traumatisation - including that of lawyers and their clients.

Many traumatised lawyers are “soldiering on” in very unfavourable circumstances with huge gaps between their private and professional roles. For these lawyers, the book identifies ways of taking back authentic power. It directly addresses profound isolation, despair and increased suicidal risk and is written to enable people help themselves across all levels of functioning and in all domains. The book facilitates further understanding of symptoms and discerning selection and access to suitable local, national and international resources and assistance.

College of Law campuses are currently involved in the nationwide rolling out of a new educational module entitled “Resilience and the Law, Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Legal Profession”. This initiative and the accompanying free DVD (available by email at collaw@collaw.edu.au  or by phone at The College of Law on 02 99657000) are in response to the recommendations of Professor Ian Hickie of the Brain Mind Research Institute and a collaboration between five major national law firms- Allens Arthur Robinson, Blake Dawson, Clayton Utz, Freehills and Mallesons and the College of Law. It has the explicit objective “ to take a leadership role in raising awareness and understanding of the nature and impact of stress, depression and anxiety across the legal professions.” (The Australasian Law Management Journal, Edition: January 2011).

Dr Higgins’ book on trauma and its resources are a very timely compliment to this initiative. This is true whether lawyers and their clients are unwittingly traumatised by the pain and suffering and horror they can be exposed to in criminal, family, compensation or human rights law, personal experiences, or some combination. The processes of identifying, integrating and moving beyond trauma are graphically illustrated throughout its pages with real examples of real people. The question and response format allows information to be provided that is based on what traumatised people are actually asking. The book provides a technical glossary with over ninety relevant terms often used by mental health professionals, physicians, case managers, rehabilitation providers and lawyers and over two hundred references and resources. It discusses whether and how to select a mental health worker, criteria to tell between the various treatments and the essential foundations of such work.

Set firmly in human rights this book also discusses and specifies the critical importance of a favourable vocational environment to help prevent or minimise the negative impact of traumatisation and makes explicit recommendations for effectively coping with the medico-legal system where this may be necessary.

Reviewed by Dr Helen Watchirs, OAM, (ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner).

Resources and References

Resources and References that refer to this website in the order they appear in the book.

Higgins, J. (2005, September). Dramatic evolution in functioning as a possible response to a traumatic event. Paper presented at ASTSS Conference. Perth, Western Australia. - Download (1.6Mb) Dramatic_evolution.pdf

Higgins, J. (1995a,). Traumatic Stress reactions in police. Doctoral Dissertation Abstract. University of Wollongong. Australia. - Download Traumatic_stress_reactions_abstract.pdf

Higgins, J. (2001a, November). Traumatic stress reactions: Assessment and treatment. Invited Seminar for ACT Division of General Practitioners, Canberra, Australia.- Download GP_seminar.pdf

Higgins, J. (1997a, October). The reconstruction of trauma: A brief overview. Australasian Stresspoints. 7-10- Download stresspointsOct1997.pdf

Higgins, J. (1999, February). Domestic violence: What can General Practitioners do to help. Paper presented at Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Canberra, Australia. - Download Domestic_Violence_GP_seminar.pdf

Higgins, J. (2006, January). Yoga and traumatic events: Prevention, treatment and evolution. Paper presented at Insynch Institute. Canberra. Australia. - Download (6 Mb) Yoga&Trauma.pdf

Higgins, J. (1995b,). A conceptual model of traumatic stress reactions. Beyond Survival 13,11-17- Download (3.0Mb) Conceptual_Model.pdf

Higgins, J. (2000, March). Therapeutic process issues and the reconstruction of trauma. Invited Advanced Level Workshop. Abstract Third World Congress, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), Melbourne, Australia- Download World_Congress_Therapeutic_Process.pdf

Higgins, J. (1997b, April). Invited commentary on presentation by Professor Guiliana Mazzoni: Quality of False memories. Australian Psychological Society. ACT Branch Meeting. Canberra, Australia -Download Quality_of_False_Memories.pdf

Higgins, J. (2002, February). Surviving the medico-legal process. Invited paper presented on International RSI Awareness Day to the RSI and Overuse Injury Association of the ACT. Canberra, Australia: - Download Medico-Legal_Process.pdf

Higgins, J. (2001b, March). Relevance and validity of evidence in psychological treatment of trauma. Invited paper presented at the National Conference for the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and National Centre for Post Traumatic Mental Health. Canberra, Australia. Download Evidence_trauma_treatment.pdf

McGregor, K. (2003). Therapy its a two way thing - Women survivors of child sexual abuse describe their therapy experiences. Doctoral dissertation. University of Auckland, New Zealand. - Download (0.69Mb) McGregorPhD abstract.pdf

Higgins, J. (2009). Selecting a mental health professional - Download Selecting_a_Mental_Health_Professional.pdf


Evolve with trauma: Become your own safe, compassionate and wise friend

Evolve with Trauma issues an invitation to traumatised people, and to their families and friends, to take back their authentic power. It offers effective help to enable growth while living with the very challenging impact of traumatising events.