Trauma and healing faith communities respond
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Trauma and Healing: Faith Communities Respond. Philip G. Monroe, PsyD Global Trauma Recovery Institute Biblical Seminary [email protected] Objectives. Review trauma’s impact on faith Recognize and value faith community trauma recovery responses

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Trauma and healing faith communities respond

Trauma and Healing: Faith Communities Respond

Philip G. Monroe, PsyD

Global Trauma Recovery Institute

Biblical Seminary

[email protected]


Objectives

Objectives

  • Review trauma’s impact on faith

  • Recognize and value faith community trauma recovery responses

  • Recommend next steps for improved faith/mental health cooperation


1 review trauma impact on faith experience and expression

Objectives:

Negative impact?

Positive impact?

1. Review trauma impact on faith Experience and Expression


Trauma d isrupts f aith identity

Trauma Disrupts Faith/Identity

  • Loss of meaning/connection

  • Existential angst

  • Spiritual struggles

  • Moral injury

  • Disconnection: faith and community

  • Special issue: Shame


Ptsd and meaning loss

PTSD and Meaning Loss

  • Exposure

  • Intrusive symptoms

  • Avoidance responses

  • Hypervigilance

  • Negative mood/cognitions


Complex trauma and meaning

Complex Trauma and Meaning

Prolonged interpersonal trauma?

  • Loss of Meaning and Purpose

    • No longer believe life has purpose

    • Question religious beliefs


Existential angst

Existential Angst

I was ready to tell the story of my life,

but the ripple of tears,

and the agony of my heart,

wouldn’t let me

Rumi(13th C. Sufi Poet)


Spiritual struggles

Spiritual Struggles

Two categories

  • Discontent

  • Reappraisal

    Relationship with trauma symptoms?

    Jennifer Wortmann- University of CT


Moral injury

Moral Injury

War-related moral injuries

  • Weakened faith and increased guilt predict greater usage of VA services

    Fontana and Rosenbeck, VA National Center, 2004


Civilian moral injury

Civilian Moral Injury?

Trauma WITHIN faith communities

“I feel like a spiritual orphan, betrayed by what I loved, and I feel lost and alone”

Kusner & Pargament, Trauma Therapy in Context, 2012


Disconnected

Disconnected!

Now here I am

Without myself

Bitter

How can I go back

To whence I sprang?

MakDizdar


Result shame

Result: Shame

Common Refrains

  • I can’t forgive myself; I can’t forgive them

  • I shouldn’t fear…I should trust

Veterans who cannot forgive self are more symptomatic

Joseph Currier, Fuller Seminary


Negative impact on spirituality

NegativeImpact on Spirituality?

Loss of meaning

Spiritual struggles

Moral injury

Disconnection: faith and community

And one more…


Vicarious trauma

Vicarious Trauma

The emotional residue in your life

Evil often undermines and challenge beliefs

  • Listening to stories will change you!

    …or become epitome of evil ̶ E. Wiesel


Can it improve your faith

Can it Improve Your Faith?

The data is mixed!

34 studies

  • 14: significant disruption of faith

  • 12: mixed evidence

  • 8: positive impact

    Clues? Age, context, culture, education

    Don Walker (Regent)


Positive religious coping

Positive Religious Coping

  • Derive meaning and purpose from worship and engagement of the Sacred

  • Connect to others: Community bonding


David brooks theologian

David Brooks, Theologian?

Suffering calls us to :

  • Accept personal limits

  • Acknowledge self-deception

  • Answer the call to the greater good

  • Submit to the moral drama of life


It is a community effort

It is a Community Effort!

Community helps

  • re-telling of stories

  • point to transcendence


Related concepts

Related Concepts?

  • Posttraumatic growth

    • New identities, capacities, meaning

      (≠ absence of suffering and symptoms!)

  • Resilience

    • “Personal moral compass”

  • Cognitive flexibility

    • Live with ambiguity: lessens spiritual struggles


Faith and pathology

Faith and Pathology?

Not all faith responses are helpful

  • Desecration…rejection…angry/ominous

  • Passive spiritual responses

    • Predicts depression

    • Accounts for 50% of trauma variance (Falb & Pargament)


Soften problematic beliefs

Soften problematic beliefs?

“…cognitive techniques aimed at softening client beliefs about right and wrong or disputing the validity of the client’s guilt might paradoxically deprive a religiously committed client of rituals such as the confession of sin as an avenue to grace.”

W. Brad Johnson (USNA)


Soften problematic beliefs1

Soften problematic beliefs?

“therapists who strip away the language of sin from Christian clients may unwittingly take away a source of peace and hope by foreclosing the possibility of grace and forgiveness.”

Mark R. McMinn (George Fox U.)


2 recognize and value faith community work in trauma recovery

Objectives:

Brief Review of Spiritual Interventions

Lament in Special Focus

Faith Community in Trauma Recovery: Exemplars

2. Recognize and value faith community work in trauma recovery


Spiritually integrated interventions

Spiritually Integrated Interventions

  • Mind/Body interventions

    • Yoga; Tai Chi; Mindful attention

  • Prayer/Meditation

    • Yogic meditation; Transcendental Meditation/Sacred word; Prayer


Epp and health professionals

EPP and Health Professionals

  • Passage meditation

  • Repetition of holy word/mantram

  • Slowing down

  • One point attention

  • Training the senses

  • Putting others first

  • Spiritual association

  • Inspirational reading

    Doug Oman, Oakland Public Health Institute


Sacred texts laments

Sacred Texts: Laments

Purpose:

  • Complaints about injustice and loss

  • Questioning God

  • Asking for rescue, calling on promises

  • Waiting expectantly


Benefit of laments

Benefit of Laments?

Increased communion and intimacy

Kim Snow

Holding communion and complaint together in our “winter of faith”

R. Beck


Elie wiesel on lament

Elie Wiesel on Lament

I have not lost faith in God. I have moments of anger and protest. Sometimes I’ve been closer to him for that reason.

Night


My brag board

My Brag Board


Good reads

Good Reads


Recommendations

  • Sample Article Titles:

  • Spirituality in Clinical Practice

  • Spiritual Functioning Among Veterans Seeking Residential Treatment for PTSD

  • The Morally-Injured Veteran

  • Spiritually Oriented Disaster Psychology

  • Anger Concepts and Anger Reduction Method in Theravada Buddhism

  • Enchanted Agnosticism

For Faith Communities (FC)

For Mental Health (MH)

Recommendations


Next steps for the fc

Next Steps for the FC

  • Self-examination; Admit fears and biases

  • Develop whole body perspectives of trauma

  • Educate communities about value of MH

    • Encourage empirical evaluation


Next steps for the fc1

Next Steps for the FC

  • Build relationships with MHPs and other FCs

  • Re-capture spiritual practices that support trauma recovery


Next steps for mh

Next Steps for MH

  • Identify biases

  • Respect religiously committed individuals

    • Inquire about faith with every client

    • Avoid marginalizing spiritual healing practices


Dialogue topics

Dialogue Topics

  • What acts of faith/worship are most meaningful to you?

  • What concerns do you have about your own faith practices?

  • Concerns about my faith/spirituality?

  • What do you wish others understood better about your beliefs?


My faith is me

My faith is Me

WELLBEING


Develop competencies

Develop Competencies

  • Develop spiritual/religious competencies

    • Seek out learning relationships with FC leaders

Learn 16 competencies

Vieten, Scammel, Pilato, Ammondson, Pargament & Lukoff (2013). Spiritual and Religious Competencies for Psychologists. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5, 129-144


Cross cultural engagement

Cross-cultural Engagement

  • Utilize literature, anthropology, and related disciplines to arrive at a more accurate view of person of faith

  • Learn local “language” of distress and develop agreed upon goals

  • Study local healing interventions and healers

  • Choose set of integrated interventions in order to do no harm

    Adapted and modified from Siddarth Shah’s unpublished

    essay on ethnomedical competence


Concluding thought

Concluding Thought

What is your tendency?

  • Nihilism/despair

  • Messianism/presumption

    Warren Kinghorn (Duke)


Despair

Despair?

Consider Job’s “friends”

Curse God and die!

When will you end this ranting?


Presumption

Presumption?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

Jeremiah 29:11


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