Trauma informed lens: interesting part of pastoral care training

Alicia Armstrong
Alicia Armstrong. Photo: Submitted

by Alicia Armstrong

Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a seminar on pastoral care training.

This training was made possible through the continued generosity and support of St. Cuthbert’s Oakville and Niagara Diocese.

During the session we covered a wide variety of topics.

We highlighted examples of pastoral care in the Bible and discussed what these examples could teach us.

We had various speakers over the course of the weekend, including members of the Diocesan staff and a social worker in private practice. Each speaker provided an engaging and informative session on ways to best support the youth with whom we work. We looked at prayers and scriptures to use in troubling situations and how to support the cultivation and growth of a caring community.

One of the most informative and interesting parts of the training was a discussion on looking at our interactions through a “trauma informed lens.” This was an interesting concept that calls on the giver of pastoral care to be informed by a compassionate understanding of the effects a trauma might have had on an individual.

It called for the acknowledgment of harm, the creation of a safe space, establishment of trust and support grounded in compassion and collaboration.

The weekend provided a wealth of information, as well as an opportunity to meet and discuss with other youth workers from the Niagara area.

I am excited to begin using the skills and strategies I learned in my work at both St. Cuthbert’s and St. Mildred’s.

Alicia Armstrong is the Youth Minister at St. Cuthbert’s and a teacher at St Mildred’s-Lightbourn School in Oakville.