Monday, May 23, 2022

Trauma Informed

I mentioned in a post yesterday that it is time for all churches: pastors, leaders, even the congregation, to become trauma informed. As Diane Langberg says, "Trauma is the mission field of our time." 

A friend rightly expressed concern. It is very easy for the traumatized person to be looked down on. Seen as inferior. Broken. Someone to be fixed. This dynamic in itself is retraumatizing. So I need to explain a little more what I mean.

The healing of trauma never comes by way of being yet another person's project. That is dehumanizing and only reinforces the impact of trauma: the loss of power, the loss of control, the loss of voice, and often the loss of connection. To truly come alongside those who have trauma means to listen, listen, listen and learn from them. To give them the voice they had taken from them. To empower them to make decisions about their life. To give them the agency to know what they need and move forward. To enter into their journey so that they know they are not alone. 

To me, trauma informed means that these leaders DO NOT treat someone with a history of trauma as a project. Nor do they treat any effects of trauma as sin or some spiritual problem, such as a lack of prayer or faith in God. To be trauma informed means to have at least a bit of a grasp on how incredibly complex the human brain is and how it records traumatic events or toxic relationships and development deprived of oxygen of love and acceptance.
A truly trauma informed person will not view the traumatized as a someone to be fixed but as a miracle that has made it this far. And will recognize that healing comes little by little, step by step, over a lifetime.

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