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028 | Abuse, Trauma, and the Emotionally Destructive Relationship

Preconference Workshops


Leslie Vernick, M.S.W.



Approved For CE

Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, and Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU

Medical Doctors, Osteopathic Doctors, Physicians Assistants, Midwives, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners




We have all heard the nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It is a lie. The Bible says that words harm people and that reckless words pierce like a sword. Current research agrees that emotional abuse can harm a person’s mental health in many ways. Yet, the Christian community has been slow to recognize and validate the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual impact of emotional abuse. A black eye or fractured arm can be obvious evidence of something very wrong, but a broken spirit is much harder to detect but every bit as real and painful. In this workshop, licensed mental health professionals, medical professionals, and ministry leaders will learn how to identify emotional abuse and its damage to the individual and the relationship. This workshop will answer the following questions that many clinicians and ministry leaders have: Where is the line crossed? Do I stay neutral? What is the treatment protocol to rebuild emotional safety and trust? What if the abuser is unwilling to get help or change?

Learning Objectives

Describe the overt and covert forms of emotional abuse used to maintain power and control over an individual.
Outline the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual impact of emotional abuse on victims using Scriptural and research support.
Assess possible abusive situations using specific questions and look for “red flags” to discern the difference between those who sincerely want to change and those who do not but want to but appear like they do.
Identify the five components of trauma informed care.
Outline treatment protocols for victims, abusers, and abusive relationships.