Aftershock helps people identify and heal from the often-delayed emotional responses to seemingly ordinary life events like the death of a partner, a chronic illness diagnosis, or getting a new job that can have significant impact on our emotions and overall mental health. 

You may be at a point in your life where you realize that you have been edgy, a bit depressed, feeling unsettled. Yet everything in your life seems to be okay. You look for a cause, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Perhaps you should examine your recent past—six months ago, a year ago—and ask yourself, "What did I go through that was stressful at the time, yet I was able to deal with by suppressing my stress until that situation was over?"

“Aftershock” is a term coined by clinical psychologist Dr. Geri-Lynn Utter, who came to recognize this largely ignored scenario in many of her patients. As a subclinical level of the more familiar post-traumatic stress disorder, “aftershock” may underlie your present emotional stress, a delayed emotional response that affects many of us after common, yet big deal, life events such as miscarriage, moving to a new city, divorce, or, for some people, the Covid-19 pandemic that has rocked much of the world.

The most urgent raison d’etre of Aftershock is to enlighten readers to the very presence of this psychological trauma—what it is and what causes it, how to recognize the symptoms, and how to heal when life's stressors keep you in the center of the aftershock of a storm.

About the author(s)

Geri-Lynn Utter, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with those struggling with co-occurring mental health concerns, such as trauma and drug addiction. Dr. Utter’s motivation for choosing this field was personal—as a child, she frequently witnessed the familial turmoil and violence that arise from such issues. These experiences gave her a rare insight into how our life experiences and the way we see ourselves impacts our mental health, both positively and negatively.  


Geri-Lynn’s experiences have left scars on her soul, which she sees as marks of wisdom that have shaped her understanding of human behavior. She tries to understand what makes people do the things that they do, and this curiosity and desire to help others, which further drove her to pursue a career as a psychologist. 


In 2020, Geri-Lynn released her first book, Mainlining Philly: Survival, Hope and Resisting Drug Addiction, which resulted from her desire to share her story and instill hope in others. The book is based on her life’s experiences and challenges as a result of her parents’ struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, severe anxiety, and depression.  


Geri-Lynn currently lives in a Philadelphia suburb with her husband and two children. When she is not practicing psychology or writing, she can be found on the soccer field or basketball court cheering for her kiddos. 


“Dr. Utter's book, Aftershock: How Past Events Shake Up Your Life Today, is the beginning of therapy for everyone. On completion of the book, you realize that everyone would benefit from talking to a mental health professional, especially one who is as insightful and able to read in between the lines of your thoughts like Dr. Utter. She lays out the groundwork from the beginning of the trauma, then takes you on a step-by-step experience of how to address it. At the end of each chapter, a brief “Let’s Review” section pinpoints the important issues discussed. Dr. Utter's humor and self-acknowledgement that she too benefits from therapy puts a person, even the most reluctant, at ease in understanding how to seek help and comfort. From the beginning, her personal stories are intertwined to explain how our psyches work. She then breaks it down into humorous examples for better understanding. At times, the ‘lol’ written on the pages really turned into ‘laugh out loud’ for me. I truly can say that I could not put this book down until finished and then wanted more!” 


“After reading Aftershock, I felt more at ease with myself knowing that people from all walks of life have experienced a life event that was traumatic for them. I got an educational, and hilarious, outlook on trauma and how it is different for everyone. I liked that there were personal stories shared in the book and I was able to connect to them. In my opinion, learning while being able to relate and laugh is amazing. It is worth the read because once you pick it up, you’ll go through all emotions and not want to put it down until it’s finished. It’ll leave you wanting more!” 

—Brittany Lee, college student 

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