Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 11196

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Work. University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T5J 4P6, Canada.
Interests: research and teaching interests include spirituality; trauma, grief and loss; posttraumatic growth; child and family mental healt; integrative and holistic practices; interprofessional collaboration and education
School of Social Work, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 5E1, Canada
Interests: research and teaching interests include trauma; social work clinical practice;organizational wellness

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Spirituality is being recognized as a critical dimension of human life that is a factor in resilience and strength, as a facilitator in posttraumatic growth (PTG). There is agreement among scholars that there is a role for including spirituality in trauma growth work, and it is necessary for working holistically with individuals, families, and communities (Carrington 2017; Gardner 2017). Traumatic events can include a range of spiritual, emotional, psychological, systemic and physical outcomes. This can lead to many distressing symptoms, which can be short-term to long-lasting, including intergenerational consequences. Equally, individuals may encounter a spiritual emergency, crisis or distress and engage in existential rumination and questioning as part of post-trauma difficulty (Vis and Boynton, 2008). Research has emerged supporting the relationships between trauma, spirituality, resilience and PTG. 

The interconnectedness of spiritual reflection and resilience is becoming well known among scholars. For example, Manning et al. (2019) note, "Spiritual resilience is the ability to sustain one's sense of self and purpose through a set of beliefs, principles or values while encountering adversity, stress, and trauma by using internal and external spiritual resources" ( p. 3). Although resilience tends to be framed as an individual characteristic, it may also have systemic, collective, or communal dimensions. Cultural, social and physical resources that sustain wellbeing and build capacity can assist individuals in navigating through adversity (LeMoine and Labelle, 2014; Ungar 2020). Resiliency offers the ability to endure trauma and turmoil, engaging towards living a meaningful life. (GoForth 2007, in Linklater 2014) Canda and Furman (2010) asserted that spiritually sensitive practice is a strengths-oriented practice (p. 222). Spiritual growth and development are linked to the reconstruction of values, beliefs, self-concept and identity, roles, relationships, philosophy of life and worldview. Therefore, practitioners supporting those exposed to traumatic events need to develop a spiritual intelligence concerning these complex, interrelated aspects of trauma, spirituality and PTG and their importance for treatment and interventions.

Aim:

We believe that working in trauma and seeking to facilitate posttraumatic growth requires a spiritually intelligent approach to promote best practice, which incorporates the interconnectedness of trauma, spirituality, and PTG. To this aim, we seek manuscripts that will encourage spiritual intelligence and spiritually informed pedagogy, offering knowledge, research, and practice frameworks that will increase practitioners' spiritual competency and diverse solutions for a spiritually sensitive practice. Within a spiritually sensitive approach, practitioners view themselves as co-collaborators, co-creators, and co-authors in the treatment process with clients. We are hopeful that this special issue contributes to this quest. We envision this special edition to be a significant contribution and resource for practitioners, researchers and educators.

Suggested Themes:

Suggested themes for submission include manuscripts focusing on spirituality, resilience and posttraumatic growth, promoting spiritual intelligence and spiritually sensitive practice across disciplines for practitioners, educators and researchers. Inclusive content that supports diversity,  is inclusive of different client populations, developmental stages and scope of trauma experiences are welcomed.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Heather Boynton
Dr. Jo-Ann Vis
Guest Editors

References:

Canda, E. R. and Furman, L. D. (2010). Spiritual diversity in social work practice: The heart of helping (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Carrington, A. (2017). Spiritual approach to social work practice. In Crisp, B.R (Ed.). The  Routledge Handbook of Religion, Spirituality and Social Work (1st ed.) Routledge.  https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315679853

Gardner, F. (2017). Critical spirituality and social work practice. In Crisp, B.R (Ed). The  Routledge Handbook of Religion, Spirituality and Social Work (1st ed.). pp. 300-308.  Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315679853

Goforth, S.(2007). Aboriginal Healing Methods for Residential School Abuse and Intergenerational Effects: A Review of the Literature. Native Social Work Journal, 6, pp. 11-32.

LeMoine, K. and Labelle, J. (2014). What are effective interventions for building resilience among at-risk youth? Community Health Initiatives; Strategic Policy, Planning and   Initiatives Health Services. Available from https://www.peelregion.ca/health/library/pdf/rapid-review-resilience-at-risk-youth.pdf.

Linklater, R. (2014). Decolonizing trauma work: Indigenous stories and strategies. Fernwood   Publishing.

Manning, L., Ferris, M, Narvaesz Rosario, C., Prues, M., Bouchard, L. (2019).  Spiritual resilience: Understanding the protection and promotion of wellbeing in the later life.  Journal of Religion and Spiritual Aging 31(2): 168–186. doi:10.1080/15528030.2018.1532859.

Ungar, M. and Theron, L. (2020). Resilience and mental health: how multisystemic processes contribute to positive outcomes. The lancet. Psychiatry, 7(5), 441–448. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30434-1

Vis, J. and Boynton, H. (2008). Spirituality and Transcendent Meaning Making: Possibilities for Enhancing Posttraumatic Growth. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 27:1-2, 69-86. DOI: 10.1080/15426430802113814

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • spirituality
  • religion
  • resilience
  • trauma
  • posttraumatic growth
  • spiritual intelligence
  • spiritually sensitive practise
  • best practice

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

11 pages, 380 KiB  
Article
Connecting to Resilience, Hope, and Spirituality through a Narrative Therapy and Narrative Medicine Creative Writing Group for People Affected by Cancer
by Laura Béres, Leah Getchell and Amandi Perera
Religions 2024, 15(5), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050612 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 173
Abstract
In this article, the authors will describe a creative writing therapeutic group program they developed based on narrative therapy and narrative medicine principles. This was a Social Science and Humanities Research Council—Partnership Engagement Grant funded project, the aim of which was to develop [...] Read more.
In this article, the authors will describe a creative writing therapeutic group program they developed based on narrative therapy and narrative medicine principles. This was a Social Science and Humanities Research Council—Partnership Engagement Grant funded project, the aim of which was to develop a facilitator’s manual for people interested in offering this group, titled “Journey through Words”. The link to the agency partner’s website, where the manual is available, is provided. The group program is structured over 6 weeks and includes a writing prompt each week, focusing on the storyline of resilience rather than the storyline of diagnosis or disease. Using a narrative inquiry approach, the facilitators kept brief field notes following group meetings. These field notes indicate that although spirituality was not planned as an identified focus of the program, due to the space narrative therapy provides for people to describe their values, preferences, and hopes during hardship, the experience of the group was that members shared reflections which were deeply spiritual in nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
11 pages, 220 KiB  
Article
Collective Despair and a Time for Emergence: Proposing a Contemplacostal Spirituality
by Aizaiah G. Yong
Religions 2024, 15(3), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030349 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 984
Abstract
In many ways, the cascading effects of the age of the Anthropocene have accelerated life as we know it towards a certain kind of reckoning, which has only been exacerbated amidst the global inequities present within the COVID-19 pandemic. Trauma studies, as an [...] Read more.
In many ways, the cascading effects of the age of the Anthropocene have accelerated life as we know it towards a certain kind of reckoning, which has only been exacerbated amidst the global inequities present within the COVID-19 pandemic. Trauma studies, as an interdisciplinary field, has recently been linked to the experience of despair at both personal and collective levels. Yet, trauma scholars are increasingly amenable to diverse forms of spirituality and its perspectives as core to the work of addressing suffering in the world, especially for marginalized communities as ways to access the wisdom of bodies, thoughts, emotions, and cultural/spiritual longings. Moving further in this direction, a practical theology which bridges trauma studies with Christian spirituality (and the emphases on spiritually rooted social action and the centrality of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete: helper, counsellor, advocate, and comforter) is timely. This paper imagines how contemporary trauma care approaches might be supported by emergent forms of Christian spirituality enabling greater posttraumatic growth and resiliency and subsequently how this can renew the practice and study of Christian spirituality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
15 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
“We’re Looking for Support from Allah”: A Qualitative Study on the Experiences of Trauma and Religious Coping among Afghan Refugees in Canada Following the August 2021 Withdrawal
by Ravi Gokani, Stephanie Wiebe, Hakmatullah Sherzad and Bree Akesson
Religions 2023, 14(5), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050645 - 12 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1609
Abstract
In August 2021, the United States withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years. The fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban resulted in the displacement of some Afghans. Canada committed to welcoming thousands of refugees. Research suggests that refugees tend to have higher [...] Read more.
In August 2021, the United States withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years. The fall of the Afghan government to the Taliban resulted in the displacement of some Afghans. Canada committed to welcoming thousands of refugees. Research suggests that refugees tend to have higher rates of post-traumatic stress, and Afghan refugees, in particular, have among the highest rates. Another body of literature suggests that religious coping has positive effects. This paper presents qualitative data from interviews with 11 Afghan refugees who arrived in Ontario after August 2021 with the intent to combine these two findings. In so doing, we sought to understand how Afghan refugees described their experiences of displacement and the extent to which those experiences were traumatic, but also how they relied on Islam to cope with the traumatic effects of displacement. The interviews we conducted suggested that our participants experienced exposure to death, exposure to threat of death and/or injury, and described some of symptoms of the criteria for PTSD. The interviews also suggested that the participants coped using Islamic concepts, beliefs, and rituals. The qualitative data we present provide rich descriptions of the experiences of trauma in the face of displacement and religious coping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
20 pages, 403 KiB  
Article
Trauma and the Emergence of Spiritual Potentiality in Ibn ’Arabī’s Metaphysics
by Ismail Lala
Religions 2023, 14(3), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030407 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1751
Abstract
Spirituality has been proven in recent studies to be a key contributor in posttraumatic growth. One of the most well-known mystical thinkers in Islam, Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn ’Arabī (d. 634/1240), nevertheless, believes that trauma does not facilitate spiritual growth, but rather has the [...] Read more.
Spirituality has been proven in recent studies to be a key contributor in posttraumatic growth. One of the most well-known mystical thinkers in Islam, Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn ’Arabī (d. 634/1240), nevertheless, believes that trauma does not facilitate spiritual growth, but rather has the capacity to reveal the spiritual potentiality that was latent within a person. This paper begins by exploring the concept of trauma in the Qur’an and how it may actualise the potentiality of humans. It then scrutinises Ibn ’Arabī’s understanding of human potentiality or ‘preparedness’ (isti‘dād) and how its actualisation leads to the rank of the Perfect Man (al-Insān al-kāmil). Finally, it adduces two examples (Mūsā and Yūnus) in whom traumatic experiences result in posttraumatic growth and the actualisation of their spiritual potentialities. In the case of the former, it is posttraumatic growth through preservation of the self; for the latter, it is posttraumatic growth through preservation of others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
20 pages, 1587 KiB  
Article
(Re)Framing Resilience: A Trajectory-Based Study Involving Emerging Religious/Spiritual Leaders
by Peter J. Jankowski, Steven J. Sandage and David C. Wang
Religions 2023, 14(3), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030333 - 2 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1937
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique circumstance for the study of resilience, and clergy resilience has garnered increased research attention due to greater recognition that religious/spiritual leaders are at risk for elevated levels of anxiety and burnout. We examined longitudinal patterns of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique circumstance for the study of resilience, and clergy resilience has garnered increased research attention due to greater recognition that religious/spiritual leaders are at risk for elevated levels of anxiety and burnout. We examined longitudinal patterns of change during the pandemic in a sample of emerging leaders (N = 751; Mage = 32.82; SD 11.37; 49.9% female; 59.8% White). In doing so, we offered a conceptual and methodological approach based on historical and critical evaluations of the study of resilience. Results revealed a subgroup that exhibited resilience over three waves of data. The labeling of this trajectory was based on established criteria for determining resilience: (a) significant adversity in the form of COVID-19 stress at time 1, which included the highest levels of the subjective appraisal of stress; (b) risk in the form of low religiousness/spirituality and greater likelihood of reporting marginalized identifications, relative to those who were flourishing; (c) a protective influence for transformative experiences to promote positive adaptation; and (d) interruption to the trajectory in the form of improvement in levels of symptoms and well-being. Practical implications center on the potential for transformative experiences to clarify emotional experience and construct new meaning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Missed Opportunities for Growth in the Posttraumatic Helping Environment: The Role of Spirituality
by Kaitlin Wilmshurst, Angela Hovey and Keith Brownlee
Religions 2022, 13(9), 790; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13090790 - 28 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1399
Abstract
This paper focuses on social work’s understanding of how posttraumatic counselling may help or hinder recovery from trauma. A qualitative case study was conducted using an autobiographic memoir that provides an in-depth personal narrative of one woman’s experience of trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on social work’s understanding of how posttraumatic counselling may help or hinder recovery from trauma. A qualitative case study was conducted using an autobiographic memoir that provides an in-depth personal narrative of one woman’s experience of trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, the posttraumatic helping environment, and healing journey. Inductive thematic analysis uncovered themes that align with the existing literature. Novel or understudied aspects for consideration also emerged, including the importance of psychoeducation, behavioural activation, and secondary factors related to the posttraumatic environment that impede healing. The analysis highlighted missed opportunities to clinically address issues of identity and meaning in a spiritually sensitive manner. Although the narrator made it clear to helping professionals that she was struggling with religious beliefs and was in spiritual crisis, helping professionals seemed to eschew exploration of these concerns. Implications for clinical social work practice and future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
10 pages, 226 KiB  
Article
Therapeutic but Not Therapy: Using Critical Spirituality to Engage with Traumatic Experiences
by Fiona Gardner
Religions 2022, 13(9), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13090786 - 26 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1370
Abstract
Participants in critical reflection workshops and peer supervision often comment that the process feels therapeutic, enabling them to engage with challenging experiences, even although it is clearly not therapy. This reflective article explores these comments, particularly how the processes of critical reflection embedded [...] Read more.
Participants in critical reflection workshops and peer supervision often comment that the process feels therapeutic, enabling them to engage with challenging experiences, even although it is clearly not therapy. This reflective article explores these comments, particularly how the processes of critical reflection embedded in critical spirituality can foster a deep exploration of traumatic experiences that undermine the sense of self and the ability to act with agency. While spirituality is broadly defined as that which gives life meaning including a sense of the transcendent, the ‘critical’ aspect includes the influence of the person’s own and the broader social context. Using two participant examples for illustration, key aspects of the process are identified: unearthing and naming deeply held, limiting and often longstanding assumptions influencing the person’s sense of who they are and how they operate. Next, understanding the prevailing social context can generate liberating new perspectives. Asking what is meaningful and why given the person’s spirituality can foster new, freeing and enabling assumptions, values and beliefs and experimenting with new ways of being and acting. What often emerges is that participants come to recognise the depth of meaning that transforms their perception of their experience and sense of themselves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
Back to TopTop