Complex Trauma and Disasters: Offering Spiritual Care – CRIS 306

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/09/2021

Course Description

This course will examine the role of faith-based organizations, faith communities, and pastors and clergy in the care of emotional and spiritual health in individuals, communities, and organizations following trauma and disaster. Specifically, topics will include the life cycle of a disaster, exclusive types of trauma and disasters, models of response for faith-based communities, collaborative efforts between mental health professionals and faith-based services, and other salient factors for effective emotional and spiritual care.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Rationale

Disasters and trauma are inevitable, and research has consistently shown that many people turn to the church or faith community for help. In fact, some studies have shown that most people will not only turn first, but in many cases only to spiritual care providers. In fact, in a 2001 survey by the American Red Cross only one month after 9/11, nearly 60 percent of those polled were likely or very likely to turn to a spiritual leader for help, whereas only 40 percent were likely or very likely to turn to a mental health professional. The need for pastors/ clergy to have a collaborative and planned response to crises and disaster cannot be understated for the emotional and spiritual health of the individuals, congregations, communities, and organizations they serve.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the symptoms and nature of complex trauma and disasters and the effects on the body, mind, emotions, and spiritual dimension of individuals, groups, and communities.
  2. Explain the stages of disaster response and implement intervention strategies for emotional and spiritual care during each stage.
  3. Compare and contrast various types of crisis intervention in disasters and articulate and implement collaboration plans between faith-based and mental health services.
  4. Examine, discuss, and integrate all issues, theories, assumptions, materials, etc., presented in the course in accord with current scholarly standards and practices.
  5. Examine, discuss, and integrate all issues, theories, assumptions, materials, etc., presented in the course through the lens of Scripture.
  6. Analyze and apply the components of comprehensive trauma assessment, considering the differential impact trauma has emotionally and spiritually on individuals, families, groups, and communities of faith.
  7. Explain how spirituality and religion can support survivor healing and how it can cause further harm.
  8. Implement an appropriate plan of action that includes applying Incident Command System (ICS) management principles to a crisis or disaster response operation.
  9. Explain the importance of being culturally adept when responding to a crisis in an unfamiliar culture, especially as it relates to sex trafficking, genocide, and related trauma.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (5)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will post a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. Each thread must be a minimum of 400 words. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 1 other classmate’s thread. Each reply must be a minimum of 200 words. Each thread and reply must address the topic in a clear and concise fashion, using outside sources (quotes from the course textbooks, other books, and/or journal articles) as needed to support the student’s point. Each thread and reply must contain at least one citation of an outside source. (MLOs: A, B, D, E, G, I)

Theology of Suffering Assignment

The student will turn in a 1-2 page reflection paper (in current APA format with title page and reference page) describing his/her concepts related to the theology of suffering. (MLOs: E, F, G)

Annotated Bibliography Assignment

The student will submit an annotated bibliography to help prepare for the case study (in current APA format with title page). The student will include three references from scholarly journals from within the last five years. One of the three references should be from a theological or biblical perspective. The student will create a 400–500-word summary for each individual article. (MLOs: D, G,)

Case Study Assignment

The student will submit a 5-page case study (in current APA format with title page, and reference page, an abstract is not needed) describing a disaster response plan for an actual/current disaster. The paper will include at least three scholarly references in addition to the textbooks and the Bible. Within the disaster response plan the student will:  describe the stages of disaster response, apply the Incident Command System to disaster response, outline specific interventions and assessments, discuss collaboration with various organizations (Red Cross, FEMA, etc), address cultural considerations, and describe the importance self care. Finally, in the conclusion the student will assess the appropriate spiritual response including any plans for follow-up. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I)

Quizzes (4)

There will be 4 quizzes over the assigned reading materials found in the Learn section. Each quiz includes 20 questions (may include multiple-choice, true/false, matching or short answer questions. Each quiz is open-book/open-notes and contains a 30-minute time limit. Only by becoming familiar with the material in advance, will the quizzes be completed successfully. Time begins when the quiz is opened, and multiple attempts are not allowed. The questions are selected at random, so each quiz will vary in its content. (MLOs: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I)