Treating Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in Christian Missionaries (and people in general)

I would be interested in Dr. Ali’s thoughts on the following article below. It doesn’t have much theology in it, and it sounds pretty much clinical.

The article was specifically dealing with missionaries, but it’s clearlly extensible to almost anyone.

There have been crisis I was alerted to either immediately or long after-the-fact and which really I could not have done anything to assist with, but still it brought to my attention the question of what is the best that can be done for a person suffering trauma.

For example, a girl confided to me and a friend with tears she had been raped some years earlier. She wasn’t really asking for advice, just relating how she was upset at the insensitive remarks of some of her college girl peers. I don’t think I said much, I could only give a listening ear for a few minutes as she started talking to the other person present, and I was relieved since it was awkward for me because I didn’t know what to do or say.

Recently, a family in my church lost their dad to a heart attack a few weeks ago. An elder in the church suffered a broken neck, etc.

The question of PTSD (or dealing with consequences of Trauma) came to mind when I was reading the acocunt of missionary William Carey whose wife suffered a permanent nervous breakdown after losing their son, and I would suppose the trauma of leaving England permanently to live in Calcutta, India. I don’t know all the details, but this sounded similar to PTSD. Hypothetically, if the means were available, should Carey and his wife left the mission field to help her nervous condition?

Setting aside the religious dimension of their mission, Carey did a lot in terms of helping with raising literacy and knowledge among the poor and impoverished of Calcutta. It might be viewed, hopefully to all, that there were noble elements in Carey’s undertaking. Yet, it came at a personal cost.

Here is the article I was reading:

This is a peaceful science question not about origins, but a science question about accepted treatments for people suffering trauma.

Additionally, I have a rather low opinion of the “Biblical” counseling movement that is infecting Christian churches. I’ve seen the proponents of this movement being some of the most dysfunctional people I know (like a pastor caught beating his wife by the police, a year after he was promoting “biblical” counseling for healing marriages).

I’m with you here, Sal. In my admittedly very limited experience, there are some unqualified people working as church counselors trying to conduct therapy that is potentially harmful. All the good intentions in the world do not substitute for professional training and certification.

It looks like that article you linked has some good information. That’s a start, but I must again emphasize the importance of professional help.

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