In just a few days I will be off to Uganda and then on to Rwanda to do some training with trauma healing workers in both country’s bible societies. In addition, a group of students from our Global Trauma Recovery Institute will join me in Rwanda to learn more about how to help without hurting. In light of this trip, I penned a few thoughts for those who have a heart to do something about the massive trauma needs around the world. Here’s a preview:
Trauma is a hot topic these days. We live in a world where we are aware of terrible traumas happening around the globe in real time. We hear and see tsunamis unfolding, towns being flooded when dikes are breached, mass shootings, bodies strewn about due to ethnic conflict, houses destroyed by errant bombs, and gender violence in almost every corner of the world. While humanitarian efforts to respond to the physical needs of those in trouble are not new, there is a recent push to have charity workers become “trauma informed” so they can also address spiritual and psychological distress.
Trauma is a hot topic not just because we have more evidence of it happening in real time. It is hot because we have better information about the impact of violence and abuse on the human brain, on human interactions, and on the fabric of a society (Mollica, 2006).
Christian counselors, many of whom want to provide cups of cold water to the hurting masses, undoubtedly wish to use their skills to bring hope, healing and recovery to traumatized peoples around the world. But just where should they start?
You can read the rest of my thoughts over at our faculty blog site.
From the recent ABS Community of Practice: my talk on resilience to trauma healing specialists.
G. Monroe – COP 2014</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/americanbible”>American
Bible Society</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>
Our Global Trauma Recovery Institute is featured in the most recent issue of the EMCAPP Journal for Christian Psychology Around the World. Pages 172-211 include an overview of GTRI, two essays by Diane Langberg (The Role of Christ in Psychology; Living to Trauma Memories) and one by me (Telling Trauma Stories: What Helps, What Hurts).
The journal also contains an essay by Edward Welch (www.ccef.org) where he muses his development as a biblical counselor, explores the matter of emotions and some of the stereotypes of biblical counseling. The journal also includes a large number of essays about Paul Vitz as well as a number about the Society of christian Psychology.
Take a look!
Filed under "phil monroe", biblical counseling, Biblical Seminary, christian counseling, christian psychology, counseling, counseling skills, Diane Langberg, Ed Welch, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma
In October I represented Biblical Seminary’s Global Trauma Recovery Institute at a conference co-hosted by the World Reformed Fellowship and North West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. Previously I posted the accompanying slides here. Now, WRF has made available the video for this presentation. Presentation runs about 30 minutes plus a Q and A at the end with another speaker.
Main objectives of the video?
- Understand the experience of psychosocial trauma
- Make the church a safer place for those who have been traumatized
Link to video here.
Today, AACC’s World Conference begins at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. This morning, Dr. Diane Langberg and myself will be running a pre-conference workshop entitled: Narcissistic Leaders and Organizations: Assessment and Intervention. I will start us off with a meditation from 1 Kings 1 (ideas I first heard from a sermon by Phil Ryken last year). We will review current explanations of narcissism as well as an emerging model that may be helpful for those who are trying to move beyond seeing narcissists as only arrogant and exploitive.
Can a system be narcissistic?
Yes. Here are some of the features.
- Leader exudes god-like status and does not share power; surrounded by yea-sayers, unwilling to tolerate disagreement, accept mentoring and willing to scapegoat others when failures arise
- Constituents gain self-esteem/identity from the organization and love of the system is the highest priority; insider status provides immeasurable value
- There is an approved way of thinking, one must take sides for/against; constituents justify dictatorial behaviors of leaders
- No toleration for admiration of competitors
- Inability to assess own weaknesses
But, here is a most interesting fact: most collective narcissistic systems are NOT filled with individual narcissists! There is something “in the water” that brings non-narcissists together to develop these 4 features (as written about by Golec de Zavala and colleagues in 104:6 of the the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology):
- Inflated belief and emotional investment in group superiority
- Required continuous external validation and vigilance against all threats of loss of status
- Perception that intergroup criticism is a threat and exaggerated sensitivity to any form of criticism
- Intergroup violence can restore positive group image (violence may be verbal as well as physical
Why teach counselors about narcissistic systems?
Counselors often interact with church and parachurch systems by consulting with the system, counseling leaders, or advocating for an individual client. It is good to be able to (a) recognize some of the unhealthy egocentric patterns (blind spots) leaders and systems develop, and (b) offer help to individuals and systems that do not get the counselor sucked into the system or unnecessarily alienate the system. I have had the opportunity to work with a significant number of churches and have learned that there are ways to help and ways that I can get in the way, especially if I begin to attack a long held belief system. For example, if parachurch organization A has had a string of CEO/Board conflicts, then I as a counselor may have to navigate some long cherished beliefs about the system when asked to consult on their next hire.
Our faculty blog at http://www.biblical.edu carries my post today. Check it out to see what 3 recommendations I make to our incoming students as they kick off their MA in Counseling program tonight!
Biblical Seminary’s faculty blog has posted an older blog of mine on the “top form of Christian cancer”. Click here to go see what it is.
Over at the Seminary’s blog page, you can find a short post of mine on the topic of lament and our need to enact lament in our church services. We seem to be able to do this on Good Friday but I would suggest that it is an essential practice until all suffering, “is made untrue” (to quote Tolkien).
The faculty blog at Biblical Seminary has posted one of mine about mindfulness from a Christian perspective. Actually, it is a call to develop a theology of mindfulness–or what I prefer to call watchfulness. While you are there, check out some of the other postings by my colleagues.
Over at Biblical Seminary’s faculty blog, I have a new guest post up pointing readers to 7 important questions to ask as they review their church’s existing abuse policy. One of the questions ISN’T whether or not your church HAS an abuse policy. I assume that every church has one already.
Read the post here.