Clergy are more likely than ever to be called on to respond to community trauma, sitting alongside trauma survivors after natural disasters, racial violence, and difficult losses. In Trauma-Informed Pastoral Care: How to Respond When Things Fall Apart, former pastor and psychologist Karen A. McClintock calls on clergy to learn and practice “trauma-informed care” so they can respond with competence and confidence when life becomes overwhelming.
Weaving together the latest insights about trauma-informed care from the rapidly shifting disciplines of neuropsychology, counseling, and theology, she explains the body’s instinctual stress patterns during and after trauma, guides readers through self-reflection and self-regulation in order to care for others and lower the risk of obtaining secondary trauma, and suggests culturally sensitive models for healing from overwhelming experiences.
McClintock particularly attends to the fact that across a lifetime in ministry, clergy accumulate and need to regularly heal multiple traumatic wounds. As a former pastor and psychologist, she is perfectly positioned to help clergy recognize symptoms of trauma and commit to healing individual, community, and generational trauma with care and cultural sensitivity.
McClintock provides insight into trauma theory and recovery while also offering strategies for clergy, first responders, and others involved in pastoral and spiritual care. McClintock is not afraid to talk challenging issues as she offers the possibility and hope of thriving for those who know trauma and those who care for self and others
This book is essential reading for clergy. McClintock is a trusted guide for addressing trauma, shame, and grief. Her wisdom and humility invite readers to become aware of their own traumatic responses as they learn to accompany others recovering from trauma. She also brings much needed attention to natural disaster care, racial violence, and secondary trauma. I highly recommend this book to all church leaders.
“I am writing this book in the most trauma-inducing year in my lifetime, a year of a million worldwide deaths and local lockdowns due to the pandemic, job losses, food insecurity and houselessness on massive scales, exposed racial injustices, national political and social unrest. Unprecedented wildfires consumed farms, homes, and wildernesses in the west, ice storms overwhelmed Texas, and floodwaters raged in the Midwest. I assume that many of these traumatic experiences have caused pain and grief for you and the members of your faith community as well.
In this book you will be reading about people with different types of trauma, including some who carry unique traumatic burdens. I will help you sort out the lingering traumatic shadows from the pandemic and from your life as far back as your immigrant or indigenous ancestors. We will explore trauma’s initial and long-lasting mental and physical symptomology. And then, we will take a look at ways to heal trauma and build trauma resilience.”