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Bearing Witness as Social Action: Religious Ethics and Trauma-Informed Response

Lancaster Theological Seminary, 555 West James Street, Lancaster, PA 17603, USA
Trauma Care 2021, 1(1), 49-63; https://doi.org/10.3390/traumacare1010005
Received: 5 April 2021 / Revised: 5 June 2021 / Accepted: 17 June 2021 / Published: 18 June 2021
Written from a standpoint of religious ethics, this article interprets the work of trauma response and recovery in transcendent and moral terms not always apparent to the practitioner or institution. This article provides a broad understanding of spirituality, transcendence, and faith as these concepts relate to Judith Herman’s stages of trauma healing and the characteristics of trauma-informed response articulated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These features are then mapped onto specific modes of transcendence and moral themes identifiable in a wide range of religious traditions. The connective framework for this mapping is provided by utilizing the concept “bearing witness,” as synthesized from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, to describe the work of trauma-informed response. This article concludes by recognizing bearing witness as a form of social action, a moral response with implied if not explicit religious dimensions and spiritual implications, for which an understanding of religious ethics is a helpful ally. Thus, this article concludes that religious ethics can be a valuable resource and partner in addressing the personal, systemic, and political aspects of trauma response and recovery, enabling attention to spiritual well-being of both the trauma survivor and the one responding to the survivor. View Full-Text
Keywords: psychological trauma; trauma-informed care; interpersonal trauma; spirituality; bearing witness; religious ethics; solidarity; social action; Judith Herman; relational model; process theology psychological trauma; trauma-informed care; interpersonal trauma; spirituality; bearing witness; religious ethics; solidarity; social action; Judith Herman; relational model; process theology
MDPI and ACS Style

Stephens, D.W. Bearing Witness as Social Action: Religious Ethics and Trauma-Informed Response. Trauma Care 2021, 1, 49-63. https://doi.org/10.3390/traumacare1010005

AMA Style

Stephens DW. Bearing Witness as Social Action: Religious Ethics and Trauma-Informed Response. Trauma Care. 2021; 1(1):49-63. https://doi.org/10.3390/traumacare1010005

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stephens, Darryl W. 2021. "Bearing Witness as Social Action: Religious Ethics and Trauma-Informed Response" Trauma Care 1, no. 1: 49-63. https://doi.org/10.3390/traumacare1010005

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