Tag Archives: Religion & Spirituality

Free CEs! faith and trauma in the public sphere

On April 23, 2014, I will be the keynote speaker for the 8th annual Faith & Spiritual Affairs Conference put on the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS). The conference theme: Trauma and Healing: Faith Communities Respond. My particular talk is geared to illustrate the necessity of engaging the faith community in trauma recovery efforts. Trauma almost always challenges a person’s faith and when mental health professionals do not pay attention to spiritual matters, treatment will likely stall. I will highlight several faith founded trauma recovery interventions being used today in church settings. 

The conference is free to all who register. But registrations are limited. Held at the Philadelphia Convention center. The breakout speakers list includes the Director of Place of Refuge, Dr. Elizabeth Hernandez.

To register click here. NOTE: enter fsac2014 as the redemption code to get into the conference website. CEs provided for SW and PC. Biblical Seminary, an NBCC approved provider, is the co-sponsor to offer counseling CEs. Other CE providers offering CEs as well.

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Filed under counseling, counseling skills, Doctrine/Theology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Ministry leader discouragers

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting with three pastor couples on retreat in idyllic New Albany, PA. The retreat house, The Haft, is the kind of place that has little to no cell service and your GPS unit won’t find. While it was Spring mud season, the weather was warm and we had a good amount of time for walking in the woods.

I led the first discussion of the retreat on the topic of discouragers. There are common things that can discourage a ministry couple: chronic criticism, ministry with no boundaries, endless needs and no support leading to burnout, vision conflict, family struggles and no place to talk about them, unmet expectations/desires, poor finances, and much more.

Family struggles can be incredibly discouraging for ministry leaders. When kids act up, ministry leaders often feel they should be able to handle–and fix–these problems. the same goes for marital conflict. Sex can be a significant discourager in one of two ways. You serve others (in church or family) and then when you are emotionally and physically tired, you discover your spouse wants intimacy while you just want to be left alone. Or, you work hard all day and you want intimacy only to discover your spouse does not. The one little desire you held to throughout your day comes to naught and you find you are completely defeated or angry about not getting your one little pleasure. Actually, this can be very true about other kinds of pleasures. Wanting to watch TV without the kids, wanting to have just a bit a down time, etc.

After we discussed the many kinds of discouragers (especially un-evaluated expectations), I reminded the participants that Heb 12:3 reminds us that spiritual rest comes with mental activity, the activity of meditating on Christ. While we need sleep to deal with physical tiredness, spiritual tiredness needs activity.

As a final activity, I had each person recall and write down 2 “stones of remembrance.” These were things that happened to them that they clearly remembered God’s handiwork in their lives. It recalls the stories in the OT where Israel was asked to set up piles of stones to remind them of God’s rescue (e.g., crossing the Jordan river). When we are spiritually tired, we gain perspective by remembering what God has done, is doing, and promises yet to do. This activity prepares us to better reflect on changes we might need to make, expectations that need altering, or boundaries that need re-drawing.

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