‘Beyond the Bookshelf’ features one veteran’s story of helping loved ones during difficult times

Published July 21, 2022
Updated Aug. 10, 2022

The world can be a scary place. When your loved ones, your colleagues or even yourself are hurting from experienced traumas in war or everyday life, what can you do to help?

Shawn Banzhaf, Associate Director of Student Success and Academic Innovation at the Pat Tillman Veterans Center offered his lessons from a recent book he wrote about the topic.

“If you don't know much about the trauma-informed movement, it's really about changing the conversation from what's wrong with that person, to what happened to that person,” said Banzhaf. 

“The Five Ls: A Practical Guide for Helping Loved Ones Heal After Trauma” by Shawn Banzhaf was released in 2021 and offers guidance and tools on ways to live a more wholehearted life by caring for others. 

On July 13, the ASU Library hosted Banzhaf in conversation with business librarian Wes Edens where Banzhaf talked about his story, his service in the military and as a pastor, and his role at ASU. The “Beyond the Bookshelf” series features ASU Authors in conversation with ASU librarians. 

Love, Listen, Learn, Lessen, and Lead

Banzhaf talked about his journey to crafting the “Five Ls” and highlighted the importance of listening. 

“Your ability to listen is your superpower. Because if you truly listen, like I discuss in the book, this aerobic listening, it’s so focused, you're going to learn something about people,” said Banzhaf. “People have a story, they want to tell their story. And if we do a good job listening, we're going to learn.”

And if there was a sixth ‘L’ added to the list? 

“The ‘L’ would be ‘Let It Go.’ I'm never gonna forget war,” said Banzhaf. “But I can let some of that stuff go. I can quit carrying around my survivor's guilt. I carried all of that for the last 13 years. And I have to tell myself, Shawn, you can let some of that stuff go. You know, I think it's important. So let it go.”

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