Relationship of Trauma to Spirituality
Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for Renewal at Brookhaven Hospital
The National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorders research suggests that for many trauma survivors, spirituality may be a resource that can be associated with resilience and recovery. According to Dr. Levine’s article, Spiritual Journey and Healing Trauma, he says that “trauma can be a portal to transformation if we learn how to work with it properly.”
We are designed to be able to overcome trauma but some need to allow others to assist in the recovery process. Elizabeth Bader’s research says “releasing trauma becomes more and more important as one progresses along the spiritual journey.”
Carl Jung famously said, “your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Michele Rosenthal, says in her book Conquering the Past and Creating the Future,“the signs of trauma in children is the starting point for intervention. While adults can verbalize feelings, children may instead exhibit theirs through regression in functioning and behavior, difficulty regulating emotion and behavior, interrupted sleep habits, fear of new experiences, clinginess, and loss of recently developed skills.”
When we look at childhood trauma being passed on to adulthood, do we cope better as adults because we are able to express our feelings better or because we have experienced a personal spiritual awakening. When we explore the interaction of trauma and spirituality, and how each affects the other- it has an overall impact on treatment.
Psychologists have found that both spirituality and religion provide some of the key elements—a strong social support group, the opportunity to infer meaning, and a focus on empathy—that are invaluable in recovering from traumatic events (Oliva Godhill 01/30/2016).