Trauma-informed Churches: Clinical, Pastoral, and Theological Support for Victims of Trauma

Today I will be presenting a one hour breakout at the 2017 AACC World Conference in Nashville, TN. If you are interested in seeing the slides, down them here.


Filed under Abuse, counseling, trauma

4 responses to “Trauma-informed Churches: Clinical, Pastoral, and Theological Support for Victims of Trauma

  1. Andrew J. Schmutzer

    Thanks for the ppt, Phil. This is very needed and addressed so little in holistic fashion. I particularly appreciate the connection to lament, which I think and write about a lot. The development of “betrayal” in Psalm 55 makes for helpful application to other betrayed relationships from WITHIN community.

    In a recent Title IX presentation on SA to Faculty, I concluded with the following challenge:

    1. We cannot heal what we will not name.
    2. We will not name what we are unwilling to grieve.
    3. We will not grieve what we are unwilling to redeem (= renew).
    4. We cannot redeem what we prefer to redefine.

    Andrew J. Schmutzer, PhD
    Professor of Biblical Studies
    Board Member of MaleSurvivor

  2. Tom

    Phil, I think it’s helpful for churches to think about this issue from an organizational rather than an individual perspective. I have issues about medicalizing what otherwise should be considered bad behavior, but we all have an angle and the body of Christ really needs to to some soul-searching.
    The phrase “trauma informed,” is coming up quite a bit and I notice you’ve used it here. In that vein, do you have any thoughts on Emily Yoffe’s recent article in The Atlantic. The title and description are, “The Bad Science Behind Campus Response to Sexual Assault. – Assertions about how trauma physiologically impedes the ability to resist or coherently remember assault have greatly undermined defense against assault allegations. But science offers little support for these claims.” Yoffe identifies “trauma informed” as a euphemism/repackaging of past repressed memory ideas. I assume you don’t intend the same things, but I’m wondering what you do include (and exclude) in your understanding of “trauma informed?”

    • Haven’t seen that essay. Will look it up to see what she is saying. In my world, there is NO ONE talking about repressed memories when they talk about trauma-informed. The heart of what folks are talking about is not treating a traumatized individual as just a bad seed. I have story after story of people with adult trauma (combat, assault, accidents) where the leadership of the church treated the individual as being unrepentant when they couldn’t worship in a service due to triggers. This has nothing to do with repressed memories. It seems you are frequently questioning my motives here.

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