USA (MNN) — People often associate the word “trauma” with war, natural disaster, or similar events of massive scale. However, according to a government agency supporting trauma recovery in U.S. youth and adults, 61% of men and 51% of women report at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.
Nearly a third of adults who sought professional counseling in 2018 listed trauma as the contributing factor, Barna Research reports. More than 1,000 people responded to Barna’s survey, both believers and non-Christians. Only three-percent found a counselor through their church, and four-percent sought professional counseling because their pastor recommended it.
Amy Fields works with Wycliffe USA and SIL International to teach communities about Bible-based trauma healing. She says U.S. leaders often fail to realize churchgoers’ pain.
“I read recently that only one in 20 churches has a program that specifically addresses trauma… and, the ironic thing is that people tend to grow most spiritually when they’re going through a crisis,” Fields states.
“[The issue] really does need to be addressed by the American Church.”
Trauma healing in the U.S. context
Survivors of childhood trauma are up to 5,000% more likely to attempt suicide, have eating disorders, or become IV drug users, the aforementioned agency reports. Research links behavioral health and chronic physical health conditions with traumatic experiences.
Click to see an infographic with more facts and warning signs.
Trauma differs from person to person, Fields explains, which can make it hard to identify without training.
“Sometimes, people think it needs to be something as serious as civil war in order to qualify as trauma… but a lot of people here (in the U.S.) have also experienced trauma as a result of growing up in a home with divorce [or] different things like that,” she says.
Resulting from a collaborative partnership between Wycliffe USA, SIL International, and several other organizations, the Trauma Healing Institute (THI) offers biblically-based trauma healing. The program’s primary focus is using Scripture to help believers – both in the U.S. and abroad – heal wounded hearts.
“If they come to our training, they’ll be equipped to lead small groups and help people to become better listeners, help people to learn how to forgive,” Fields describes.
“There’s a lot of hurting people out there that need somebody to talk to. People may have a lot of things in their background that nobody’s aware of, and those things could be really hindering them.”
Ask the Lord to give you wisdom, and pray for understanding. Then, click here to see a list of upcoming trauma healing events.
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