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401 | Trauma, Self-image, and Spiritual Formation: How Trauma Impacts How We See Ourselves and God

Abuse, Violence, and Trauma-informed Care, Friday 9/15 2:15 – 3:30 PM, Workshop Tracks


Byron Kehler, M.S.



Approved For CE

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

Approved For CME/CEU




Two of the most damaging aftereffects of adverse childhood experiences are their impact on how clients see themselves and how they experience God if they are Christians. This is of particular concern for licensed mental health professionals and ministry leaders working within the faith community. A healthy and accurate self-image is essential to people’s mental health and happiness. For Christian clients, a genuine and meaningful relationship with God is one of the greatest soul longings. Unfortunately, childhood trauma compromises their self-image and intimacy with God, creating profound distortions of both self and God. This workshop will explore the impact of childhood trauma on one’s relationship with themselves and God, with suggestions on how licensed mental health professionals can address this important aspect of clients’ lives in the therapeutic environment and practical application for those serving in faith communities.

Learning Objectives

1. Discuss how unresolved trauma negatively impacts self-concept and how to lead clients into a healthier self-perception
2. Describe how unresolved trauma and hurtful childhood experiences influence spiritual formation and development and how licensed mental health professionals can address this effectively within the therapeutic milieu with Christian clients
3. Identify what the church community can do to be trauma-informed and create greater safety for those struggling with their relationships with God due to past childhood trauma
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