“Trauma is an overwhelming need which people really don’t see. It’s not a physical wound that people would identify and want to help you with, it’s a wound that you have on the inside because of something you have gone through.”
Elizabeth Muriuki is General-Secretary of the Bible Society in Kenya, and she has experience of trauma healing from both sides. Her organisation uses a program developed by the Trauma Healing Institute to help people suffering from trauma – and she went through the program herself after losing her daughter. Does it work? Elizabeth gives an enthusiastic yes in response to that question. It takes time, she says, but it works.
In this episode, we talk to people working on the front lines of one of the world’s greatest areas of need: the trauma that millions upon millions suffer from globally.
It’s easy to avoid the pain of others, and hard to lean into it. But the Trauma Healing Institute, established by the American Bible Society, trains people in how to sit with those who’ve experienced traumatic events, and how to help them move forward.
They work in conflict zones around the world, with refugees in the Middle East, with people who’ve experienced domestic violence in South America or gang violence in Central America, in the US prison system. Trauma happens everywhere, explains Andrew Hood, who manages the Trauma Healing Institute.
“One of the things that has been so astounding to me as I’ve worked in this program is that I’ve seen Syrian refugees transformed by this, and I’ve seen suburban Philadelphia natives transformed by this. The point is, all humans hurt; all of us grieve. And it’s rare for us, often, to have an opportunity to process that in a community setting.”
It’s not a simple process, and it’s tough work to be involved in. But both Andrew and Elizabeth insist that there’s plenty of hope alongside the pain.
“Your trauma will always be with you. The point is that it’s not the end of your story – we believe it’s a beginning of your story. You carry it with you, in a way, throughout the rest of your life, but hopefully it can be redeemed into something, if not beautiful, at least something that is a springboard for hope.”
Find out more about the Trauma Healing Institute: http://thi.americanbible.org