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The Role of Religion and Spirituality in the Resilience and Healing of African Americans in Times of

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Nancy Boyd-Franklin, Ph.D. Rutgers University. Email: boydfrank_at_aol.com. 2 ... 'Amazing Grace' (Mitchell & Lewter, 1986) 18. Biblical Passages for Times of Trouble ' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Role of Religion and Spirituality in the Resilience and Healing of African Americans in Times of


1
The Role of Religion and Spirituality in the
Resilience and Healing of African Americans in
Times of Trauma
  • Nancy Boyd-Franklin, Ph.D.
  • Rutgers University
  • Email boydfrank_at_aol.com

2
Religious Diversity Among African Americans
  • Baptist,
  • African Methodist Episcopal (AME)
  • Methodist
  • Episcopalian
  • Catholic
  • Church of God in Christ
  • Seventh Day Adventist
  • Jehovahs Witnesses

3
Other Religious Groups
  • Nation of Islam
  • Sunni Muslim
  • Other Muslim Groups
  • African Religions

4
Religion and Spirituality
  • Diversity of Experiences
  • Do not assume a religious affiliation or belief
    system
  • The importance of the Church Family
  • The difference between religion and spirituality
  • ROLE OF BLACK CHURCHES IN Trauma RESPONSE (will
    be discussed below).
  • (Boyd-Franklin, 2003)

5
Caution Do not Assume Religious Involvement
  • Many African Americans are not Church Involved
  • Adolescents are often in rebellion against their
    parents beliefs
  • Spirituality vs. Religion
  • Many African Americans have a deep spirituality
    (i.e. belief in God)
  • Others may not be spiritual or religious
  • (Boyd-Franklin, 2003)

6
Spirituality
  • Survival Mechanism for African Americans
  • A way to address and cope with the psychological
    pain of racism
  • African Belief system The psyche and the spirit
    are one.
  • (Boyd-Franklin, 2003)

7
Church Family
  • Church Home
  • Minister, Ministers Wife
  • Deacons, Deaconesses
  • Sunday School
  • Close Members of the Congregation
  • Day Care Schools
  • Benevolent Fund
  • Help Support in times of trauma

8
Church Family Support
  • Many African American Church Families also
    have extended family blood ties
  • Visiting the Sick and Homebound
  • The Prayer List
  • Elder Prayer Warriors
  • Transportation to Services
  • Senior Activities
  • Emotional, Spiritual and Instrumental support
  • Respite Care

9
Resilience of African Americans in the Face of
Disaster, Trauma Racism
  • Historic resilience of Black People
  • Survival Skills
  • This is not our first disaster and it wont be
    our last.
  • Strengths
  • How have you overcome traumatic experiences in
    the past?
  • How have you dealt with racism in the past?
  • Role of Religion and Spirituality
  • (Boyd-Franklin, 2008 Boyd-Franklin,2009)

10
Spirituality Coping with Trauma
  • SOME AFRICAN AMERICANS WILL USE SPIRITUAL
    REFERENCES AND METAPHORS IN THERAPY
  • Importance in African American families
  • Ask about spiritual beliefs
  • Help to cope with trauma and loss
  • Instilling a sense of hope
  • Spiritual resilience
  • NOTE THESE BELIEFS MAY NOT BE PRESENT IN ALL
    AFRICAN AMERICANS
  • (Boyd-Franklin, 2008 Boyd-Franklin, 2009)

11
Issues of Death, Dying and Traumatic Loss for
African Americans
  • Painful History of Loss
  • Traumatic Loss and Sudden Death
  • Violence in so many communities
  • Spirituality as a comfort
  • Healing
  • Support from the Church Family

12
Role of the Funeral in Healing from Loss Trauma
  • The Funeral has a very central role in African
    American culture
  • Very traumatic after Katrina that survivors could
    not bury their dead
  • Highly emotional service
  • Celebration of the Life
  • Homegoing Service
  • (Boyd-Franklin, 2009)

13
Cultural Insensitivity Regarding Issues of Death
and the Funeral
  • After Hurricane Katrina, many first responders,
    including mental health responders, did not
    understand the importance of respect for the
    dead the funeral in African American families.
  • Ignore the dead we want the living
    insensitive messages
  • (Dass-Brailsford, 2006)

14
Therapeutic Benefits of a Memorial Service
  • There are circumstances where a body is never
    recovered
  • For some African American families, a memorial
    service can be very therapeutic
  • Family therapy sessions- Plan the Memorial
  • Family and friends have an opportunity to share
    their memories of the deceased
  • Postpone the funeral or memorial service
    sometimes for a week or more in order for the
    extended family members to arrive

15
Spirituality Coping with Trauma
  • Importance in African American families
  • Ask about spiritual beliefs
  • Helps to cope with trauma and loss
  • Use of spiritual metaphors
  • Instilling a sense of hope
  • Spiritual resilience

16
Core Beliefs for Overcoming Adversity
  • Im so glad trouble dont last always (Gospel
    song)
  • It looks bad right now, but remember, this too
    shall pass.

17
Resilience Themes in Hymns and Spirituals
  • There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded
    whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the
    sin-sick soul.(Hymn).
  • I shall not, I shall not be moved, Just like a
    tree, planted by the waters, I shall not be
    moved.
  • After youve done all you can, you just stand
    and let God see you through (Gospel song).
  • Walk together children, dont get wearyTheres
    a great camp meeting in the Promised Land
  • Precious Lord, take my hand
  • Amazing Grace (Mitchell Lewter, 1986)

18
Biblical Passages for Times of Trouble
  • I can do all things through Christ who
    strengthens me (Philippians 413).
  • Though I walk through the valley of the shadow
    of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with
    me. (Psalm 23)
  • Weeping may endure for a night , but joy cometh
    in the morning (Psalm 305)

19
Resilience Spiritual Messages after Trauma
  • God will see you through
  • Thus far by faith
  • African Americans are not strangers to hardship,
    trauma and disaster
  • Perseverance
  • Healing
  • Forgiveness
  • Faith and Hope

20
Reaching Out to Black Churches
  • Importance of establishing relationships with
    Black churches in the community prior to a
    disaster
  • Identify African Americans, who can introduce you
    to their pastors and their church families

21
Mental Health Partnerships with Black Churches
During Times of Trauma
  • Black Churches are a natural base for Mental
    Health interventions in the African American
    community
  • Connections should be made prior to the disaster
  • Trust in the Community
  • Minimize fear and suspicion
  • Familiar Church home for children, adults and
    families

22
Houston Example After Katrina
  • African American Psychologist went to Houston to
    the Astrodome after Katrina
  • Thousands of people in this massive shelter
  • Red Cross responders overwhelmed
  • Through his minister contacted local Black Church
  • Ministers Church Family Members came
  • Choir sang-lifted the spirit of everyone

23
Black Churches as Relocation Resources
  • Help families find Black church families of the
    same denomination in the new location
  • Culturally and spiritually familiar surroundings
    during a disruptive period
  • Many church families have adopted families
  • (Boyd-Franklin, 2009)

24
Role of Religion and Spirituality in Healing
Trauma
  • Faith, hope and charity
  • The power of prayer
  • Some African Americans may ask you to pray with
    them during times of disaster, death, trauma and
    loss
  • Follow the client and familys lead
  • DO NOT IMPOSE YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL BELIEFS OR
    PRACTICES ON THE CLIENT OR FAMILY
  • (Boyd-Franklin, 2009)

25
Strength-Based African American Spiritual Beliefs
  • DO NOT ASSUME THESE BELIEFS.
  • God is good all the time
  • God will hold your hand as you run this race.
  • God is in charge.
  • God can do anything but fail
  • Mitchell and Lewter, 1986

26
Testimony Therapy
  • Dr. Makungu Akinyela
  • Oral tradition
  • Church Tradition of giving Testimony
  • We shall overcome
  • Sharing Triumph over Adversity
  • God saw me through.
  • Validate You have a very powerful testimony.
    Share it with others.
  • Overcoming disasters, trauma and racism
  • (Akinyela, 2007 Boyd-Franklin, 2009)

27
Normalize Feelings
  • African Americans have a cultural need to be
    strong
  • Tears may be considered weakness
  • Reframe as tears of strength or tears of love
    or tears of strength and love
  • Normalize feelings
  • You are a survivor

28
Testimony of Triumphs Over Past Disasters,
Traumas and Racism
  • Ask about experiences in the past where the
    person has overcome trauma, extreme loss, or
    racism
  • Explore the factors that helped the person to
    overcome
  • Validate that those strengths are within the
    person

29
Spirituality and Church Support in Healing
Community Trauma
  • Important support system in times of disaster
  • Healing Community Trauma
  • Even for those who are not religious, Black
    churches are often a focus point in communities
  • For activism, advocacy
  • Respected Leadership in Times of Trouble

30
Healing Community Trauma Case Example
  • Random violence shooting of 17 year old African
    American young man.
  • Good Kid
  • Victim of Gang Violence
  • Rushed to hospital
  • Mother called her minister
  • Prayed with her as her son died
  • Mother begged sons friends to stop the
    violence not retaliate

31
Partnership between Church and Mental Health
  • Crisis Counseling Minister met with school
    officials and mental health providers to
    intervene in the community the school
  • Funeral very emotional
  • Minister at altar call asked all the young people
    to come forward pledge to stop the violence
  • Turn in Weapons

32
Further Community Healing
  • Minister called for Gang Summit
  • Worked with Mental Health Providers to offer
    family therapy to mother and other relatives
  • Teacher at school and youth minister helped the
    youth to develop a memorial service and video
    remembrance

33
Mother contributes to community healing
  • Gang Summit
  • V Free (Stop the Violence) walk
  • Foundation and scholarship through Church in
    sons name
  • Ministry to other families affected by community
    violence
  • Mental Health Providers actively involved in this
    partnership

34
Mental Health Providers
  • Dont be alone
  • Reach out to other supports in the community
  • Try to have a member of the African American
    community introduce you to key community leaders
  • Including Ministers
  • Dont Wait for a Disaster or Trauma
  • Build Connections with Black Churches Community
    Organizations now
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