Understanding Betrayal and Changing the World

Professors talk a lot. With students and colleagues. In classes and communities. No matter one’s career stage, there’s a whole lot of talking.

Well, with one exception: Professors don’t get to say much at all on the day that they retire.

That’s because there’s a tradition in academia of giving lectures or publishing a book in honor of the person retiring. The person retiring listens (or reads along) as other people do the talking. Former students are most commonly the speakers and writers for these retirement celebrations.

I had the distinct honor of giving just such a lecture this month at a celebration of Dr. Jennifer Freyd‘s retirement from the University of Oregon. ‘

Yes, that Jennifer Freyd. The one who proposed betrayal trauma theory and introduced institutional betrayal and DARVO to the world. You see, I was one of the first graduate students to work with Jennifer on betrayal trauma theory many years ago.

It meant the world to me, then, to make my way back to Eugene to reconnect with Jennifer and a generation of graduate students mentored by her. We gathered on campus on a surprisingly sunny day with Jennifer’s colleagues and friends to celebrate her remarkable career at UO.

Preparing the lecture gave me a chance to reflect on how our understanding of betrayal trauma and Jennifer’s work has changed the world in many ways.

And also how the work carried out and inspired by Jennifer as well as her students and collaborators paves the way for the action we need now.

I invite you to check out these reflections in this re-recorded version of my lecture:

Of course, retirement from UO does not mean that Jennifer’s work is done. Rather, this joyful event celebrated the closing of her UO chapter and the launch of a new chapter.

Today, you’ll find Jennifer continuing her work to change the world through the Center for Institutional Courage — an organization I encourage you to check out and support!

Congratulations, Jennifer! And thanks for one more chat at the Eugene airport for old time’s sake.


Every 90 Seconds is available now from Oxford University Press or:

Published by Anne P. DePrince, PhD

Author of "Every 90 Seconds: Our Common Cause Ending Violence Against Women" (Oxford University Press), Anne is Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Associate Vice Provost of Public Good Strategy and Research at the University of Denver. She directs the Traumatic Stress Studies Group.

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