In 2010 the U.S. State Department admitted 48,282 refugees to the United States. In 2013 the number was 69,926. Look around the world: from current conflicts and historical hot-spots, people are seeking shelter and safety. These people have experienced trauma and they are dealing with its aftermath. Increasingly, they are dealing with this aftermath here in the United States. Are we prepared to support refugees who have been traumatized in their home countries? Whether you believe the overall answer is yes or no, we could certainly be more prepared. That’s the goal of a webinar I’m facilitating this Wednesday the 19th for the Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services in cooperation with the National Partnership for Community Training (1:00-2:00pm EST, register HERE).
The program will use the Sidran Institute’s Risking Connection model to describe how organizations can meet the needs of refugees, immigrants and those who have survived torture. While this webinar happens to be seated in the faith community, the lessons are universal — Trauma, Spirituality and Faith: An Overview of the Interplay as Survivors Risk Connection and Recovery will help you and your organization accomplish the following:
1. Effectively convey the importance of faith communities in health and recovery for refugees, immigrants, torture survivors, and others who have experienced trauma
2. Connect spiritual practices such as yoga, meditation, and ritual to healing and community-building
3. Equip providers with knowledge and tools useful in leveraging faith communities in the service of reaching out to torture survivors
4. Embed best and promising practices for working with survivors of torture in the context of connecting with faith communities
Recently I taught a Risking Connection in Faith Communities seminar for clergy in Baltimore and would love your participation as I work toward similar programming for the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Together we can help congregations of all faiths move a little further towards the trauma-informed approach of dealing with “what happened” instead of “what’s wrong”. Congregations in all of the Abrahamic traditions (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) have a long way to go toward dropping the stigmatizing approach mental health care. I hope this webinar is a small step in that direction.