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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Power of Faith and Spiritual Perspectives: A 2-Day Spiritual Coping Workshop for Relational Trauma Survivors: A Program Development Study
by Bowers, Victoria L., Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2019, 153; 13426581
Abstract (Summary)

Pargament and Sweeney (2011) found that when spiritual coping is applied in healing from trauma, the elements of faith and spirituality can bring about feelings of peace, comfort, hope, and joy. The purpose of this research was to explore how spiritual coping following a trauma may offer positive changes in a person’s existential, spiritual, religious, and psychological life (Castella & Simmonds, 2013). This research study implemented the latest research for spiritual coping for trauma survivors into a 2-day psychoeducational program with experiential exercises that taught 10 participants effective spiritual coping constructs and techniques.

The research was conducted in three parts: 1) create a workshop based on the literature review, 2) provide the workshop to interested individuals who met the criteria for the research study, 3) evaluate the workshop using the feedback provided by participants. The researcher used a mixed methods study using quantitative and qualitative methods: 1) 20-item surveys following each module and 2) 20-minute focus group at the conclusion of the workshop. Surveys were analyzed using a quantitative analysis and comparison of percentages. The focus group was analyzed using a qualitative thematic analysis highlighting the main themes.

Six modules were created for the workshop using program development: 1) relational trauma and spirituality, 2) spiritual meaning-making, 3) prayer and meditation, 4) hope and happiness, 5) finding meaning through suffering, and 6) integrating spirituality into trauma recovery. Through PAR, participants indicated the following conclusions: 1) addressing spirituality in a group setting highlights the ways spirituality can be a source for human connectedness, self-awareness, strength, and resilience and 2) by utilizing the spiritual coping curriculum participants learned that spirituality can be a healing source by providing opportunities for meaning-making, transformative goals, and post-traumatic growth.

This research study contributes to understanding of the intersection of spiritual coping and trauma recovery in the field of psychology. Spiritual concerns should be included as a part of treatment planning for trauma survivors (Smith, 2004). More work needs to be done to help incorporate spirituality into mainstream mental health care. Further research should be done to identify the aspects of how spirituality that should be incorporated in trauma care. More research needs to be done to find out how this spiritual coping program may be effective for other clinical populations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schmitt, Robert
Commitee: Hoffman, Louis, Settlage, Bonnie
School: Saybrook University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: 2-day spiritual coping workshop, Faith, Relational trauma survivors, Spiritual perspectives
Publication Number: 13426581
ISBN: 978-0-438-90581-8
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