Finding Healing from Trauma

Finding Healing from Trauma

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Chaplain Joy Stevens.  Joy is a Master Facilitator for the Trauma Healing Institute of the American Bible Society.

Joy and Brad discuss what trauma is and the trauma healing classes that the Trauma Healing Institute is sponsoring in both churches and jails.  They also talk about the healing and hope that is coming from the classes and what is necessary in order for trauma, which is a wound of the heart, to heal.

Please know, if you have experienced hope in your life, what happened to you matters.  There is hope and healing.

Joy’s calling is to introduce the Trauma Healing Classes within hundreds of jails and prisons that the Good News and Jail Ministry is connected with through out the United States.  Why?  Because most the vast majority of people who are incarcerated have had trauma; trauma that wounded them very deeply and they have ended up acting out in their lives, due to the trauma.  The trauma must be healed in order for behaviors can change.

Joy Stevens has been a jail chaplain with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry since 2011 working in corrections since 1996 where she started her career on death row in Lincoln She became Trauma Healing Coordinator with her ministry in March of 2017 after partnering with American Bible Society and will be training chaplains and volunteers in jails and prisons around the nation.  Joy will be visiting prisons in Kenya and Rwanda, Africa in July to look into the feasibility of introducing Healing Wounds of Trauma into their prisons.  She is a Master Facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute.

In this edition of Fresh Hope, you’ll hear about the wonderful things that the Lord is doing through these trauma healing classes.

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

Click on the icon to listen to this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health:

small logo for Fresh Hope

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Three Important Questions to Ask Those Affected By the Recent Flooding

Three Important Questions to Ask Those Affected By the Recent Flooding

By: Brad Hoefs

Natural disasters are a fact of life. We know they happen, and we know that they can be quite severe, and can have a long-term effect on those who are affected by the disaster. We hear of people enduring floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes, and we see the devastation on our television screens. However, when it happens to us, a natural disaster takes on a whole new meaning.

Recently here in the Midwest we’ve experienced catastrophic flooding. The flooding was quite severe just a mile from my own home in West Omaha. The damage is so extensive that nearly everyone was directly impacted, or knows someone who was. They say it’s the 500 Year Flood, and lives have been interrupted in major ways. Families are displaced. Some are being told that they can’t rebuild their homes. Some farmers have lost not only the top soil, which is so important in farming, but they’ve also lost scores of livestock. And not just to drowning, but totally lost. Herds of pigs washed away by raging floodwaters. One young man shared with me that his family has a farm, and they are devastated by the loss of a large herd of horses. To make matters worse, the water is still there so they can’t even get in to start the process of cleanup.

I think most people understand and anticipate that mental health issues are more prevalent, and the needs rise, after a natural disaster. Any life-interrupting event like that easily triggers anxiety or depression from the ongoing stress, as well as PTSD. Research shows that mental health issues can increase by at least 100% following a natural disaster. That’s incredible when you think about the fact that prior to a disaster, normal statistics tell us that about 25% of the American population has a mental health challenge in any given year. So if that number increases by 100%, this means 50% of the people experiencing a natural disaster are suffering in some way from some kind of mental health challenge.

Of course, that’s not too shocking, is it? If you’ve lost your home or your living, or you’ve been told that you can’t go back to your home, you can’t rebuild, or you don’t have insurance, you’re surely going to have long-term stressors. And that long-term stress affects your brain chemistry. My concern is that here in the Midwest we have a lot of farming communities that have been affected.

I grew up on a farm, so I know the farming mindset. All I have to do is think about my dad, and I can imagine how the farmers are going about this. They’re tough. They’re the kind of people who pull up their boot straps, get up, and take care of it. They start rebuilding. They’ve got work to do, and they keep their mind on that. But when you do that, it’s really easy to stuff down emotions and feelings. And while I have full respect for the farmers, I also have a deep concern that they will not recognize the fact that the ongoing stress and strain of what they’re going through will easily take a toll on their brain chemistry. My hope is that farmers will not just try to ‘suck it up’, but will get the help they need to work through their feelings and emotions, not only for themselves, but also for the sake of their families.

As we interact with those who have experienced and are experiencing the stress following a natural disaster, I’d like to suggest that we all learn three short, yet very important questions. They’re really very simple questions, but they help people start processing. And processing the pain, talking about the pain, the difficulties, and the trauma, is the single-most important factor in healing.

The first question is, “Tell me what happened.” Then listen intently. Don’t tell them not to feel this, or don’t worry about that, or pump them full of what I call toxic positivity. Sometimes we Christians do that. We don’t allow people to experience their pain or feel their emotions, or share them. We just start heaping on good Bible passages about how God’s gonna take this and make it work for their good. And while those Bible passages may be true, it’s premature, and people have feelings that have to get out. They have to be able to tell their story. To know that they’ve been heard, and that they’re being respected. So the first question is quite simple, yet very important to start the emotional recovery process. When you meet someone whose life has been greatly interrupted by a natural disaster, start with, “Tell me what happened.”

It’s important. It gets them talking about the trauma of what they’ve gone through. The more they tell that story, the less power that trauma has over them, and the less that trauma has the ability of hurting them in the future from stuffed-down emotions. Feelings and emotions have to be dealt with, and trauma and pain have to be processed. If you have unprocessed pain, unprocessed emotions, and unprocessed feelings, sooner or later they surface. They can show up in all kinds of peculiar ways, and other times they show up as anger. And sometimes they quietly take lives either by suicide, by the body breaking down, heart attacks, or anxiety attacks.

The second question is, “What was the worst part?” Again, this allows them to express their pain and difficulties, and to begin to rethink and understand their life story. They didn’t expect this to happen, and it has become a total interruption in their lives.

The third question helps them look inward: “Tell me how you’re doing. How are you feeling these days?” Again, getting them to express, to talk about, to normalize what they’ve been through helps greatly. What I know about the farming community is that probably nobody would go to a support group following a disaster. Especially in a small rural area, the attitude is that ‘you gotta be made of sterner stuff, you keep things private, and you don’t talk about them.’ Yet people are suffering. They’re going through real difficulties, as opposed to just hoping and praying that somehow it will all get better.

So, if you want to help your neighbors who’ve been through this disaster, I encourage you to ask these questions of them. Maybe you’re married to someone who’s not expressing how they feel, and they’re just kind of pulling up their boot straps and thinking they’re moving on. You can ask these questions then. Ask them in a meaningful way, in a way where you’re ready to listen and understand. You see, when people have been heard, when they’ve been understood, when they have in fact been respected so much that you take your time to listen, it helps in the healing process.

When these questions and others like this are processed early on, there’s less chance of PTSD setting in. There’s less chance of deep depression taking over. There’s less chance of anxiety patterns beginning to create a disorder for them. Simply put in layman’s terms, stress changes brain chemistry. Long-term stress really can be devastating on brain chemistry. And simply shoving the feelings down, or pretending like they’re not there, doesn’t do anything but make matters worse. Knowing that farming communities keep things private and are less likely to be open about their problems, asking these three simple questions may be the most effective way to go about helping these people.

So I ask you, has your life been interrupted by a natural disaster? Are you a victim of the flooding? Are you busy cleaning up, or is your community busy cleaning up? Hamburg, Iowa is completely under water. The community is going through this tragedy and traumatic event, yet they’re already pulling together and will get things done. But the reality is that stress also plays a part in the brain chemistry. And that’s just as important to work through as it is to clean up after the flood and get life back to normal. So, neighbor helping neighbor, ask these questions.

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Healing from Trauma

Healing from Trauma

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Chaplain Joy Stevens.  Joy is a Master Facilitator for the Trauma Healing Institute of the American Bible Society.

Joy and Brad discuss what trauma is and the trauma healing classes that the Trauma Healing Institute is sponsoring in both churches and jails.  They also talk about the healing and hope that is coming from the classes and what is necessary in order for trauma, which is a wound of the heart, to heal.

Please know, if you have experienced hope in your life, what happened to you matters.  There is hope and healing.

Joy’s calling is to introduce the Trauma Healing Classes within hundreds of jails and prisons that the Good News and Jail Ministry is connected with through out the United States.  Why?  Because most the vast majority of people who are incarcerated have had trauma; trauma that wounded them very deeply and they have ended up acting out in their lives, due to the trauma.  The trauma must be healed in order for behaviors can change.

Joy Stevens has been a jail chaplain with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry since 2011 working in corrections since 1996 where she started her career on death row in Lincoln She became Trauma Healing Coordinator with her ministry in March of 2017 after partnering with American Bible Society and will be training chaplains and volunteers in jails and prisons around the nation.  Joy will be visiting prisons in Kenya and Rwanda, Africa in July to look into the feasibility of introducing Healing Wounds of Trauma into their prisons.  She is a Master Facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute.

In this edition of Fresh Hope, you’ll hear about the wonderful things that the Lord is doing through these trauma healing classes.

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

Click on the icon to listen to this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health:

small logo for Fresh Hope

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Healing for Trauma

Healing for Trauma

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Chaplain Joy Stevens.  Joy is a Master Facilitator for the Trauma Healing Institute of the American Bible Society.

Joy and Brad discuss what trauma is and the trauma healing classes that the Trauma Healing Institute is sponsoring in both churches and jails.  They also talk about the healing and hope that is coming from the classes and what is necessary in order for trauma, which is a wound of the heart, to heal.

Please know, if you have experienced hope in your life, what happened to you matters.  There is hope and healing.

Joy’s calling is to introduce the Trauma Healing Classes within hundreds of jails and prisons that the Good News and Jail Ministry is connected with through out the United States.  Why?  Because most the vast majority of people who are incarcerated have had trauma; trauma that wounded them very deeply and they have ended up acting out in their lives, due to the trauma.  The trauma must be healed in order for behaviors can change.

Joy Stevens has been a jail chaplain with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry since 2011 working in corrections since 1996 where she started her career on death row in Lincoln She became Trauma Healing Coordinator with her ministry in March of 2017 after partnering with American Bible Society and will be training chaplains and volunteers in jails and prisons around the nation.  Joy will be visiting prisons in Kenya and Rwanda, Africa in July to look into the feasibility of introducing Healing Wounds of Trauma into their prisons.  She is a Master Facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute.

In this edition of Fresh Hope, you’ll hear about the wonderful things that the Lord is doing through these trauma healing classes.

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

Click on the icon to listen to this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health:

small logo for Fresh Hope

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

Healing for Trauma

Healing for Trauma

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Chaplain Joy Stevens.  Joy is a Master Facilitator for the Trauma Healing Institute of the American Bible Society.

Joy and Brad discuss what trauma is and the trauma healing classes that the Trauma Healing Institute is sponsoring in both churches and jails.  They also talk about the healing and hope that is coming from the classes and what is necessary in order for trauma, which is a wound of the heart, to heal.

Please know, if you have experienced hope in your life, what happened to you matters.  There is hope and healing.

Joy’s calling is to introduce the Trauma Healing Classes within hundreds of jails and prisons that the Good News and Jail Ministry is connected with through out the United States.  Why?  Because most the vast majority of people who are incarcerated have had trauma; trauma that wounded them very deeply and they have ended up acting out in their lives, due to the trauma.  The trauma must be healed in order for behaviors can change.

Joy Stevens has been a jail chaplain with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry since 2011 working in corrections since 1996 where she started her career on death row in Lincoln She became Trauma Healing Coordinator with her ministry in March of 2017 after partnering with American Bible Society and will be training chaplains and volunteers in jails and prisons around the nation.  Joy will be visiting prisons in Kenya and Rwanda, Africa in July to look into the feasibility of introducing Healing Wounds of Trauma into their prisons.  She is a Master Facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute.

In this edition of Fresh Hope, you’ll hear about the wonderful things that the Lord is doing through these trauma healing classes.

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

Click on the icon to listen to this edition of Fesh Hope for Mental Health:

small logo for Fresh Hope

If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group.

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

To donate to Fresh Hope go to http://freshhope.us/donate/

For a complete list of where Fresh Hope groups are presently meeting, go to www.FreshHope.us and click on “find a group.”  Or you may attain an online group of meetings of Fresh Hope by going to www.FreshHopeMeeting.com

If you are interested in starting a Fresh Hope group within your faith community, contact Julie at Julie@FreshHope.us 

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is a production of Fresh Hope Ministries. 

Fresh Hope Ministries is a non-profit ministry.  

The copyrights of this program belong to Fresh Hope Ministries and may not be duplicated without written permission. 

All of the podcasts of Fresh Hope Today, as well as numerous other videos, are all available on our YouTube channel: Fresh Hope Network

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is on Facebook at  www.Facebook.com/FreshHopeforMentalHealth

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash