Understanding Trauma

“This changes everything…” was one response to Barbara Bennett’s workshop on Understanding Trauma at St. Mark’s. Barb began by noting that our most sacred writings are rooted in events of personal and social trauma, overwhelming moments of suffering and struggle. Her presentation described how our brain and body respond, how we develop patterns of freezing, flight or fight that can be triggered again and again throughout our lives. Barb took us through the symptoms of trauma and in a series of exercises together we began to use person first language, a strengths based approach, power sharing, and mutual goal setting to become more trauma informed in our life as congregations and organizations. Workshop participants included clergy and congregational leaders, teachers and youth leaders, parish visitors, service providers, and many of us who had our own experience as individuals and family members with trauma. We thank Barb for creating a safe and welcoming space for learning and conversation and to Neal Bernstein for offering a wonderful lunch with options for everyone’s diet. Chaplain Kae Eaton noted that this was a revival of the Chaplaincy’s history of helping provide community education events. We look forward to more opportunities to share wisdom and practice helpful to building caring congregations and compassionate community