UETS project to translate five Christian manuals on trauma and crisis counseling into Ukrainian has been completed and is now helping church leaders and lay counselors in dealing with various kinds of wartime trauma and crises.
As a reminder, Ukrainian mental health workers find themselves practicing and teaching in the midst of the armed conflict accompanied by mass traumatization. Since the begining of the conflict almost five years ago, thousands of people have been killed and more than a million have been displaced or have fled to neighboring countries.
The ongoing war in Donbas continues producing daily cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers and civilians (refugees, victims of bombings, victims of torture, soldiers’ families, and caregivers). Such psychological trauma must be recognized and treated so that victims have a chance at returning to a normal life.
However, Ukrainian training in psychotraumatology was neglected since the country has enjoyed 30 years free of conflicts, terrorism or major disasters. Ukrainian psychologists lack the expertise to properly assist victims, especially at a large scale, not to mention pastors and lay counselors have had minimal training or no training at all in clinical methods of grief and trauma counseling.
To help Christian mental health providers in Ukraine rebuild the psychological health and stability of their communities, Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary decided to translate five manuals which had become real hits in the West.
The first book of the series is Strategic Pastoral Counseling by David G. Benner, a distinguished professor of Psychology and Spirituality at the Psychological Studies Institute (Atlanta) and a practicing clinical psychologist, which stresses that therapeutic counseling in a Christian context can be highly effective only when it maintains narrowly focused goals in a time-limited setting.
Psychology and Christianity: Five Views edited by Eric L. Johnson is a standard introductory textbook for students and professors of Christian psychology. This widely appreciated text presents five models for understanding the relationship between psychology and Christianity and how a reader might evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of each view.
In the volume Transformative Encounters edited by David W. Appleby and George Ohlschlager more than twenty of the best pastoral counselors, clinicians, and counselor educators inform students, pastoral counselors, clinicians, and counselor educations of the variety of methodologies that are available to those seeking God-encountering, Christ-centered ministry of miraculous change.
The Complete Guide to Crisis and Trauma Counseling, in its turn, is a biblical, practical guide to pastoral counseling written by Dr. H. Norman Wright, who is one of the most respected Christian therapists of our time. Readers will learn how to counsel and coach both believers and nonbelievers who are in crisis, how to walk alongside them through the hours, weeks, and months following their trauma, and how to help them find the path to complete restoration.
The last but not the least within the accomplished translation project is Suffering and the Heart of God written by Dr. Diane Langberg who tackles complex and difficult questions such as suffering through trauma and healing with the insights she has gained through more than forty years of counseling those whose lives have been destroyed by trauma and abuse. The author strongly believes what trauma destroys, Christ can and does restore.
All of the aforementioned books drew a positive response from mental health providers in war-torn Ukraine. UETS faculty and staff are privileged to fill in part the existing gap in dealing with various kinds of wartime trauma and crises from the Christian perspective.