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The Need for Trauma-informed Education During Seminary

Trauma-informe churchDon't know how many of you may have watched the new Resilience film on Sunday, April 10 but I did and it brought to my mind several ideas on how to further the work and awareness on the ACES issue.

In a previous blog post here, Linda Jacobs appropriately addressed the importance of having trauma-informed churches.

Reverend Streets has written a piece about the importance of engaging in trauma-informed ministry.

So, I got to thinking that since so many, perhaps all, of the ACEs are trauma to the heart - to the spirit - that awareness of this issue should be addressed in seminary where pastors and clergy are trained and equipped for their roles to care for people in their flock.

In that light might any of you in the faith-based community be aware of any such initiative?

Thanks!

 

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Hi Kimberly,  I'd like to be a part of the Community of Practice group as well, and would appreciate being added. 

I work as a chaplain in a large regional hospital, and am also involved in bringing ACE presentations to local churches and faith-based organizations.  I have presented on ACEs and theology/pastoral care at one local seminary/school of theology, and would like to do more.  I believe this education is critical.

Thanks!

Amie Schumacher

Kimberly, I'd be interested also. I'll email you. My work has been with children's ministers and I speak at several national children's minister's conferences. They get concerned when a child's behavior is out of control. They get concerned when there are bruises. They get concerned when a child is leaning toward suicide and makes it known. I've been working with churches for over 10  years and I feel like I'm saying the same thing over and over but no one is really listening. I've given out the ACEs websites more time than I can count on hand outs, power points and through emails. 

I ran a therapeutic child care in OK for years. I was on a task force for the state of OK about trauma in young children. I served on the Child Care Advisory in OK and chaired several committees that wrote licensing standards. The reason I was so active on those committees is because licensing workers kept telling me I couldn't use the techniques we were using, even though the techniques were successful.

In 2000 our program was part of a  national initiative with the Portland State University research team. We were one of 9 programs chose nation wide for the "Setting the Pace:  Model Inclusive Child Care Centers Serving Families of Children with Emotional or Behavioral Challenges."  

The report was released officially in 2003. You can read the abstract and download the report at http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/socwork_fac/43/

At the time the report did not look into trauma as an issue in the behaviors of these children. But my staff and I knew that trauma was what the issue was. We developed our techniques through hands on; documenting what worked and what didn't; advice and counsel with therapists and our own counselor that I paid for out of my own pocket; and through study about the brain and staying current on any brain research we could get our hands on. 

In 2002 I sold my center and moved to NC to develop a program for churches to use with children of divorce called DC4K, DivorceCare for Kids. It is now in 3,500 churches. Over 115,000 children have been equipped with the activity book.

Basically the content is everything I learned working with the kids at our program, the Broken Arrow Clubhouse. Right after the program was released in 2004 I had a therapist at John Hopkin's tell me she used everything in the program except the religious component and wished she  could use it. 

Sorry this is so long. I am compassionate about helping the children and I'm frustrated that more pastors and children's leaders just don't get it. 

Kimberly T Konkel posted:

Amen!   hope you are part of the Trauma Informed Congregations Community of Practice.  If not, email me at Kimberly.konkel@hhs.gov and I will add you.  We are working now on regional trainings, but would love to engage with all of you.

I'm super bummed, I messed up my registration and missed seeing the film!  I'm hoping to get another chance soon.

Hi Kimberly, no, I am not a member. Is this a different Group here on the ACES Connection or a separate community elsewhere?  

Jaime J. Romo, Ed.D. posted:

Most people will have prior existing traumas. Sometimes, these are triggered by authority figures (e.g., ministers), regardless of the authority figure’s intention. Sometimes, these traumas are triggered when interpersonal or organizational boundaries are confusing. In addition, sometimes the trauma that individuals carry are directly related to religious or spiritual abuse.  Not surprisingly, authority figures and structures that highlight authority will frequently be questioned, attacked, avoided or almost destroyed.  I think it is also helpful to recognize that ministers also carry unresolved traumas and that can interfere with being present and able to recognize or respond appropriately to others. 

 

I have been involved with trauma informed care in educational and congregational settings for several years. I have wished for trauma informed care studies for seminarians and clergy for years.  Recently, I helped design a discussion series for the Child Friendly Faith Institute http://childfriendlyfaith.org/...designation-program/   Faith communities are a natural place to promote trauma informed care. I do not know of a developed curriculum, and I designed a course for abuse prevention years ago that could be adapted and used in a seminary setting.  

 

Peace,

 

Jaime Romo, Ed.D.

Minister for Healing and Healthy Environments

Thanks for the comment Jaime and your commitment to make a difference. Let's see what kind of momentum we can develop on this issue!  ~ Dale

Most people will have prior existing traumas. Sometimes, these are triggered by authority figures (e.g., ministers), regardless of the authority figure’s intention. Sometimes, these traumas are triggered when interpersonal or organizational boundaries are confusing. In addition, sometimes the trauma that individuals carry are directly related to religious or spiritual abuse.  Not surprisingly, authority figures and structures that highlight authority will frequently be questioned, attacked, avoided or almost destroyed.  I think it is also helpful to recognize that ministers also carry unresolved traumas and that can interfere with being present and able to recognize or respond appropriately to others. 

 

I have been involved with trauma informed care in educational and congregational settings for several years. I have wished for trauma informed care studies for seminarians and clergy for years.  Recently, I helped design a discussion series for the Child Friendly Faith Institute http://childfriendlyfaith.org/...designation-program/   Faith communities are a natural place to promote trauma informed care. I do not know of a developed curriculum, and I designed a course for abuse prevention years ago that could be adapted and used in a seminary setting.  

 

Peace,

 

Jaime Romo, Ed.D.

Minister for Healing and Healthy Environments

Thanks for the mention of the post on trauma -informed churches that I wrote. I can't wrap my mind around why ministers and seminaries are not engaging in this conversation and training their people. I too believe that early trauma is trauma to the spirit and the heart. Churches could do so much to soothe the trauma the little ones are experiencing. I see this all the time in my DC4K, DivorceCare for Kids, group. Just last night in my group 2 little girls really opened up. They laid it all out there. Mom was into drugs, moved the girls around a lot, incarcerated, girls went to foster care, etc. The trauma on the oldest one is deep but she is healing ever so slowly in our group. 

I am mentoring mom about how to react to various situations. When we can keep mom from floating into the survival mode of her brain we help the child. Mom herself was taken away from her drug parents, in foster care and then adopted at 14 and molested at some point as well as neglected. Mom is healing also. Her trauma score is very high. She is coping but it's not easy. 

Our church and our groups have literally been a life saver for this mom and her two daughters. Here is an article I wrote about her a couple of years ago. https://blog.dc4k.org/archives/3437 She has come a long way but the early trauma remains buried in her mind, muscles, bones, heart and every organ in her body. 

Dale,

As part of my doctorate of ministry work I have been engaged in this discussion with the fine folks at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon. My specific ministry project that will be the basis of my thesis is to collaboratively write a trauma-informed VBS curriculum. I am also hoping to collaborate with ChildWise, an organization built around ACEs education in Helena, MT about how we could have a faith-based breakout session during a Fall Conference they are planning on Resilience. I, too, would like to see seminaries integrate ACEs/trauma-informed care built into their pastoral education.

I had also posted on the main blog last week, and just cross-posted here on the faith-based blog, an article I wrote called "What does it mean for a ministry to be 'trauma-informed.'" I'd love your thoughts on it if you have a chance!

Blessings,

 

Chris

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