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"Someone recently told me that the word trauma is overused."

I paused while reading Chuck DeGroat's July 13 Tweet. And I continued because I knew his background included roles as professor, minister, spiritual director, and licensed therapist with a solid understanding of trauma's pervasive scope, types, and impact.

DeGroat continued: "Maybe."

"And maybe the Apostle Paul used the word "suffering" too much also??"

"Trauma is the embodied experience of our unmetabolized, undigested sufferings. And friends, I see it all over place..."

So do I Chuck, so do I.

When listening... really listening... to others I hear trauma everywhere. Thankfully, so do countless others in churches, ministries, and organizations around the world. For example, Mending The Soul shares an excellent series like this one as co-founder Dr. Steven Tracy describes trauma, its prevalence, and types. MTS’s vision includes bringing “community-based restoration to people worldwide who have experienced abuse.” Like ADOH, they understand healing happens in community as they “seek to create resources that foster safe, restorative relationships.”

So if trauma is everywhere, what helps people heal from trauma?
The Power of Presence

Dr. Curt Thompson's fourth podcast series (Being Known) focuses on trauma. Describing the "Power of Presence" episode Thompson writes, “The very thing we need the most in our work to heal trauma – the presence of loving relationships – is often the context in which our traumas are initially taking place.”

Bringing his clinical expertise, experience, and personal stories, Thompson's episode reflects why the power of presence can help people heal - and to me suggests why it can happen in groups led by trauma-informed peer facilitators. During ADOH peer facilitator training we identify what needs to be in place so group participants can safely “practice the presence of God and of others – the presence that we need despite our terror that it is something we won’t be able to survive."

The ADOH partner peer facilitator training centers on betrayal trauma. For those unfamiliar with betrayal trauma, Dr. Jake Porter (Daring Ventures) touches on some important points about "How does betrayal trauma affect the brain?" in in his six-minute YouTube video.

Bringing a trauma-informed approach to facilitating betrayal trauma groups

Among other topics, during ADOH's training experience we cover traditional peer facilitator standards and competencies. Our competency conversations during live sessions include topics like the scope of the peer facilitator role, range of facilitator tasks, and breadth of facilitator skills, as well as group stages and dynamics. However, we also examine each competency through a trauma-informed lens in general as well as ways each one is unique to the betrayal trauma experience and recovery process.

Bringing a trauma-informed approach to competency conversations reminds us that there are variances in how people experience trauma. That understanding is important because of the range of ways people can be triggered during a group – what may potentially trigger them - and differences in what can help individual group members – and the group - when someone is triggered.

The potential dissimilarities in groups is one example of a critical peer facilitator competency. Dissimilarities occur in all groups and understanding the types and scope of trauma, variances in how people experience trauma, types of specific help someone might need at any point in recovery can feel overwhelming for facilitators.

As described in the image, there are multiple ways to describe culture. One is ethnicity. We've had some honest, vulnerable, rich conversations about ethnicity in our community. This recent conversation between two ADOH alumni, both involved in ministries and professional organizations offering support to betrayed partners and those struggling with problematic sexual behaviors/sexual addiction, offers insight into what that a high level of cultural competency looks like when creating and sustaining “culturally, compassionate recovery groups”

Culturally compassionate recovery

"Kristin Cary (Living Truth Ministries) interviews Professional Life Coach Andrea Rogers about culturally compassionate care for ALL people who need support after unwanted sexual behavior or sexual betrayal."

"As a black woman, Andrea shares her experience entering the predominantly white recovery community. In this episode, you'll learn more about loving others well, especially when they are from racial & cultural backgrounds different from yours. Recovery communities can grow in providing loving care to people of all cultural backgrounds! This is not a conversation with any political or ideological agenda. Let’s get curious together about what it’s like to be human in a particular color of skin that is different from our own."

Join us at SILS 2023 in beautiful Jacksonville, Florida. It's an opportunity to meet and connect with others!

ADOH connected plenary speakers

Dr. Jake Porter A Theology of Attachment: The Story of Human Connection from Scripture and Neuroscience

Rev. Kevin Pate and Stacey Sadler Together for Better: A Successful Partnership Between a Pastor and a Therapist

ADOH connected breakout speakers

Joanna and Matthew Raabsmith "So, what's next?" Navigating the Later Levels of Betrayal Recovery for Couples

Andrea Rogers Divorce Is Not a Dirty Word

Dr. Jake Porter and C-SASI Board President Troy Snyder Shame: What Is Its Role in Recovery, Betrayal, and the Relationship


Click here for an overview about ADOH's partner peer facilitator training

Ideal training candidates have worked - or are working - through the first two stages of betrayal trauma recovery. Having received help and renewed hope, they want to give back. Completing an (on the peer facilitator page drop-down) is the first step. After an application is reviewed, the applicant is contacted for an interview.

The next training cohorts

Tuesday, May 23 through August 8

Times 11 am - 1 pm OR 6:30 - 8:30 pm CT

The ADOH training experience is both extensive and intense. Completing it requires both physical space (for confidentiality) and 'calendar' space since successfully completing requires:

  • Competing all exercises in ADOH Partner Peer Facilitator Training workbook

  • Participating in 11-weekly two-hour Zoom sessions

  • Participating in a private, temporary Facebook group specific to each training cohort.

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