Many of us may be faced with multiple disasters in rapid succession—devastating injury,
severe illness, the collapse of a long marriage—and somehow endure. Some of
us can, in the long journey of recovery, not only survive but become more than what we were before tragedy struck.
And a few of us not only survive with our spirit more vital than ever, but discover in ourselves a voice and the
capacity to share that experience in a way which can be a beacon and guide to those caught in the struggle to rebuild a
shattered life. PJ Long is one of these.
Today, PJ is a counselor and advocate for troubled children, a therapist, teacher, lecturer, and author. But for several years following a terrible fall in 1999, PJ was none of these things: in the aftermath of her accident she found herself deprived of almost all cognitive skills. She struggled with exhaustion, with vanished memory, with physical debility, with the inability to perform even the most basic skills, and with despair. Diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI), she fell into a long twilight world in which hope itself seemed vanquished. For PJ, for her husband, her children and her friends it seemed that the vibrant, capable and generous woman they had known and loved might be lost forever. After four years of recovery came further challenges: breast cancer, and then, the more common but no less painful blow of divorce.
Before the accident in 1999, PJ was a psychotherapist in private practice, an adjunct college professor, and business consultant. She holds dual masters degrees, one in interpersonal communication and a second in psychology and spirituality. Her undergraduate work included studies in England and Japan. During her nearly twenty-year career in social services, PJ at various times worked at an orphanage in Bangladesh; counseled Saudi women leaving harem life; performed crisis intervention for troubled teens; led parenting groups; and consulted with corporations, hospitals, police, schools, and others.
The story of how PJ found in herself and with the support of family and friends the light and the strength to rebuild a life is told in her acclaimed autobiographical book, Gifts From the Broken Jar. Details, reviews, reader comments on the book, and ordering information can be found in the links below, as well as information on PJ's workshops and lectures. In all that she does today, PJ remains uniquely able and committed to passing on the insights that she has found to others facing terrible journeys of their own.