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Courage to Heal Manual

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Elim Palms Renewal Centre (EPRC) is an organization passionate about facilitating psychological and emotional renewal which is achieved through counselling and coaching. Apart from working with families, couples, teenagers and individuals, EPRC also works with pastors, Christian leaders and other professionals working in Christian organizations and in the general market place. We provide psychological debriefing and counselling to this group of people.

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Courage to Heal Manual

  1. 1. Courage To Heal A guide for Individuals Suffering from Psychological Trauma By Julia Kagunda ©2014
  2. 2. - 1 - COURAGE TO HEAL FROM THE PSYCHOLOGICAL WOUNDS OF TRAUMA From the post-election violence in 2008 up to today, Kenya has witnessed a wave of ethnic and political conflicts that have left Kenyans traumatized, especially those affected directly. Traumatic events or crises have several common characteristics; they hurt physically, emotionally and spiritually. The aftermath of witnessing and surviving horrific and violent war atrocities leaves the affected parties with significant symptoms of psychological distress, including Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. However, after experiencing traumatic events, some “war” survivors tend to remain in the crisis mode without wanting to narrate the horrific events witnessed or survived, which compounds the problem. Sometimes they lack forums debrief or share the traumatic stories. Realizing the shortage of professional counselors in the country, Elim Palm Renewal Centre (EPRC) has prepared this manual to facilitate pastors, Christian leaders and Community leaders and is challenging them to debrief with their congregants and communities. One critical component of the process is spiritual resources, packed in this manual, which is greatly needed after experiencing traumatizing events and the losses that go alongside that. However, only trainers who have been trained by EPRC are allowed to use this manual to avoid survivors of conflict/war getting re-traumatized if this process is not handled properly. The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life (Pro. 15:4) Trauma is described as the disease of the soul and identity hence it takes a lot of courage to heal. Take courage and embark on this soul-searching process. Through God’s help, you will be restored and refreshed. A HEART AT PEACE GIVES LIFE TO THE BODY (Proverbs 14:30) Blessings, Julia Kagunda Elim Palm Renewal Director
  3. 3. - 2 - TABLE OF CONTENTS ABOUT THIS MANUAL............................................................................................................- 3 - CHAPTER 1: DEALING WITH LOSS: NO HEALING WITHOUT GRIEVING .................................- 5 - CHAPTER 2: ANGER AND RESENTMENT: “I AM CHOKED WITH BITTERNESS”.................... - 12 - CHAPTER 3: FEAR AND SUSPICION: “I AM AFRAID, I CANNOT TRUST”.............................. - 16 - CHAPTER 4: SHAME AND GUILT: “I WANT TO HIDE”.......................................................... - 20 - CHAPTER 5: FORGIVINESS: “FOR WHOM”.......................................................................... - 26 - CHAPTER 6: POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) “I FEEL SICK”............................ - 36 - CHAPTER 7: REMEMBERING WHAT HAPPENED ......................................................................40 CHAPTER 8: SELF-HATRED: “I AM VALUED?”...........................................................................45 CONCLUSION............................................................................................................................50
  4. 4. - 3 - ABOUT THIS MANUAL This manual provides tools and interventions needed to process the common emotional wounds resulting from trauma; however, this program recognizes that healing is a journey that involves many aspects. We do not attempt to put a claim to an absolute solution to the healing process; rather we hope to provide individuals with a determination to take the journey of personal healing with a resource that will add value to that process. Why the “Courage to Heal”? It takes courage to confront and deal with the emotional wounds that are inflicted by traumatic experiences. As we have observed during interactions with people who survived the post-election violence, it is clear that most of these survivors have pushed the memories to the subconscious. At the slightest provocation, they realize that the emotional wounds are still there and they hurt today as much as they hurt when these events took place. In one of the courage to heal seminars in Nakuru, a participant commented “when I came here for the seminar, I thought I healed long time ago, only to realize I am still hurting”. There are eight sessions designed to address the most common symptoms of trauma. The resources used here are based on ideas that are founded on the word of God. They also have been validated by many psychological counseling professionals and used by many individuals’ men and women in different sectors of life. The sessions are designed to be done in a group session though one may choose to do them individually. The group setting, however, provides the support and motivation needed for the journey. It also provides the atmosphere where one benefits from the rich experiences of the other participants. Who is this Book meant for? Our interactions with conflict/war survivors give evidence that all individuals involved suffer. There is no single person whether perceived as the perpetrator or the victim escapes the emotional wounds inflicted during skirmishes. Besides trauma, this book would benefit others who have gone through all kind of losses or unresolved grief. Do not rush through these sessions. Take your time. Though the workbook is designed in eight sessions, a few sessions may be split as seen necessary. The important thing is to make this process experiential rather than academic. Remember, therapy is a process rather than an event. When you have willingness, courage and hope not obstacle will be too huge to overcome.
  5. 5. - 4 - Activities to Expect in the Manual: o Relaxation activity: At the beginning of every session, it is important to have a relaxation exercise that will help the participants get in touch with the inner self. o Case studies: The workbook provides various case studies for specific sessions. o Self-exploration questions and/ or activity At the end of each session, the work book provides either a series of questions for further self-exploration or a group activity to help participants process the information learnt. Biblical passages and case studies The workbook provides various scriptures for further study and consideration on every topic. In some instances, relevant case studies are derived from the Bible to help the participants relate their experiences with those of biblical characters. The group is encouraged to use the provided biblical passages for further studies.
  6. 6. - 5 - CHAPTER 1: DEALING WITH LOSS: NO HEALING WITHOUT GRIEVING Introduction What happens when we lose something we treasure? Loss occurs in different ways; it could be through death of a loved one, loss of property through destruction or theft, loss of treasured relationship or neighborliness, loss of a job or whatever else. It is important to note that any loss comes with multiple losses. Loss is a painful process that leads to grieving. Case Study: Most days David had horrible dreams and nightmares. He always felt like there was somebody around to attack him and ready to take his possessions. To his wife’s surprise, he would get up at night sweating and trying to grasp for some breath. Although his wife had her share of fear and panic attacks, David was definitely experiencing a lot of sadness, confusion, anger and depressive episodes. “We are lost. We are so far away from our home. Our hard earned property is all gone…overnight it is gone” he would repeat, shaking his head. He could not work. He could not sleep. He saw himself as a useless husband and father to his children, who also looked lost in the new environment. “I want to go back to how things used to be…I cannot believe this is happening to us; did you say that my brother’s family was wiped out and you said out daughter was…” he could not bring himself to finishing the statement, as he shook his head so violently. His wife just wept as she felt the same sadness and hopelessness. She hoped that it was a bad dream… Questions for Discussion 1. From the story, what kind of losses has David and his family experienced? 2. Identify the kind of emotions that Simon, his wife and children are going through? 3. In what ways can you relate to what they have gone through? 4. What do they need to do in order to cross this river of pain and confusion? “Loss is not the enemy. Not facing its existence is,” by Dr. H Norman Wright Loss & Grief:  Loss is defined as: “that was but no longer is”. It challenges our whole belief system because loss changes everything we have ever known.
  7. 7. - 6 -  More often than not every loss is a multiple loss. For example, when one’s house is burnt, several losses are encountered which may include: a sense of belonging/security, loss of legal documents, and a sense of wellbeing, trust, dreams, self-identity and so on. We may lose a part of ourselves that had interacted with that which is no more.  Whenever we experience any sort of loss, it is normal to experience negative emotions.  Loss leads to grief, which is normal, healthy process;  Grief comes from the Latin verb meaning “to burden”; it is like a heavy load that one wishes that they could set down; but they can’t;  Grief has different levels and intensities;  Grieving is the link that leads to emotional healing and restoration Exercise: NAME YOUR LOSSES: Write about what you lost specifically. By naming your losses, you will be better able to accomplish the difficult work of grieving over it. “Grief is neither a problem to be solved nor a problem to be overcome. It is a sacred expression of love… a sacred sorrow” by Dr. Gerald May Any kind of loss leads to 3 basic choices: 1. Stay at the same point and fixate, 2. Regress, 3. Process the grief and move to the next stage of living in a healthy and productive way. The processing of grieving is painful as one allows themselves to feel the pain but with the intention of reinvesting in what will be, which ultimately brings growth and renewal. THE PURPOSE OF GRIEF God built the grief response into us for the purpose of mentally, emotionally and spiritually processing loss-producing events and helping us to move on to a state of greater strength. As the write of Healing the Wounds of Trauma wrote, “Tears are a way God has provided for sadness to leave our body’. If we resist this mechanism, our sorrow may linger for a long time. What Happens When we Grieve?  We link with the emotions that come with loss rather than suppressing or denying
  8. 8. - 7 - them. As grief experts say, “You cannot heal wheat you can’t free”;  Instead of minimizing, we are expressing that wish that the loss had never occurred;  We are facing the devastating impact of the loss head on rather than running from it, only to have its effects hit us again and again  We are allowing our brain to replay the tapes of our traumatic event memories in a safe environment, which robs them of their terror and allows us to include them in our post-trauma life;  We are inviting Jesus to enter the dark jungle of our pain, experience it with us and comfort us rather than sitting alone and paralyzed at the edge. When we Refuse to Grieve:  Unresolved grief leads to development of a wide range of psychological problems like outbursts of rage, restlessness, depression, addiction, compulsion, anxiety and panic disorder;  Unexpressed grief may lead to medical problems or make current problems worse like heart disease, hypertension, cancer, asthma, aches and pains; and  We are at odds with God’s desire to meet us in the midst of the fire of our loss and trauma, and His desire to comfort us and strengthen Biblical Examples of Grieving: Gen. 43: 30; 45:1-2: “And he (Joseph) wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaohs household heard about it” (vs. 2) Joseph acknowledged his pain and he allowed himself to grieve. On two previous incidents he had wept but succeeded to hide it from his brothers. But this time he could not hold back anymore. In his loud weeping, he was expressing the pain of a young boy betrayed and brutalized by those he loved and reconnecting with them. Psalm 137:1-3 “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion…” Luke 22: 41 – 44: Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives  What was Jesus anticipating?  How did Jesus respond?  What did He tell his Father?  What would you say about the sweat like drops of blood falling to the ground? GRIEVING AND MOURNING: THE PROCESS Everyone will process their grief a bit differently but research shows that there are some general descriptions that people generally experience. A well know Swiss doctor, Elizabeth
  9. 9. - 8 - Kubler-Ross, studied the subject of grief and expressed a general pattern encountered during a life changing event like loss or trauma.  Denial Stage: “No! Not me!” “It can’t be!” The initial reaction of loss is shock and disbelief. “I cannot believe this is happening”. It is trying to avoid the truth.  Anger Stage: “Why me?” “Not fair!” After it dawns that the loss has actually occurred, anger may result. This maybe expressed through blaming others, lashing out at others (projection), rage, and frustration and so on.  Bargaining Stage: “Not yet!” “What can I do?” Usually, the bargaining is promising that if things change, we will do that or another. One can even promise God that they will perform an action if He will fix things. Seeking in vain for a way out  Depression Stage: “Go away!” “I’m too tired.” When it becomes clear that the situation has actually occurred and it is inevitable, a very sad time sets. However, this may become a turning point because the griever understands that he or she won’t be able to restore life to the way it was.  Acceptance Stage: “Okay.” “If that’s the only way out”. Finally finding the way forward as the loss or trauma is fully acknowledged. “It was bad- real bad- but I survived”. “My world changed but I can live in this new world”. Even when one successfully goes to this stage, recurring bouts of sadness are common. Question: As you think about the loss and trauma you have experienced, and the grief you feel now over your loss, which of the above stages describes your current state of mind? MOURNING: When we experience loss or traumatic event, grief is what we feel and mourning is what we do about it. That is the externalizing of our internal pain. And Jesus Christ says that “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Mathew 5:4). Remember the following as you work out your grief through mourning:  “I AM NOT ALONE”: In the midst of your pain, you have got God’s attention. He is your best friend who is more than willing to listen to your pain and walk with you; indeed His understanding no one can fathom. Ask Jesus to enter into your pain and carry you. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Psalm 34:18  “WHAT DO I HAVE FAITH IN”: There are faith goals and requests you are placing before God but your faith should be in God alone. “Our real hope is not in something
  10. 10. - 9 - we want to see happen, but in God, who is making something good out of the situation even though we cannot see it or understand it…!” (Rev. Chris Adsit).  “CAN I DO IT ALONE?” While grief is draining, mourning is hard work; look for others to support you. Avoid being the pillar of strength to everyone around you. Find a few people you can count on to be there for you. Grieving has been described as falling into a cistern and you need friends to throw you a rope to help you out.  “WHAT ABOUT THE ANGER?” It is okay to be angry but it is what you do with it. It is a normal, reasonable reaction when faced with hurtful and grievous events but if not handled it leads to bitterness (the next chapter deals with anger and resentment).  “I WILL CHOOSE THE FLOW OF TEARS”: Whereas it is easier for women to cry, culturally men are reluctant to engage the strong emotions associated with grief. But take a moment and think of King David: He beat a three-meter tall giant called Goliath, killed a lion and a bear in hand to hand combat, and took the foreskins of two hundred Philistines as a dowry for his bride. o Do not also forget that King David was a boss of mighty warriors who singlehandedly killed eight hundred men in one batter; he had one of them, on a snowy day, following a lion to a hole and killed it. And there are many other men whom were under David’s command. o And yet, King David engaged fully with his emotions during times of grief. Besides, the King acknowledged publicly about his grief; the reason why we are able to read the following tests today. Do this exercise based on David’s experiences. “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears” (Psalm 6:6). Describe the emotions that David expressed. What kind of emotions have you experienced in your time of grief; capture and write them down like David did. “I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother” (Psalm 35:14). What have you felt about others in your mourning? Allow yourself to feel them like David did and write them down as David did. “I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my As David is waiting for God’s help, what is he experiencing? What are some of the emotions you have
  11. 11. - 10 - God to help me” (Psalm 69:3) experienced as you wait upon God? How Do I know that I am making progress?  What is the difference between these two words? “Why” & “How”?  A person in a crisis of loss and trauma asks a lot of “why” questions. o Why did this happen to me? Why now? Why did God let this happen? Why won’t this pain stop? Why won’t I just forget and move on? Why must I suffer for this long? What were/are some of the “why” questions you have asked? HOW”: The “How” questions indicate a good sign of progress. How can I build new dreams? How can I move on? How should I deal with my pain and loss? How do I get back into normal life again?  These questions look into the future, rather than the past. They spark action and not just thoughts. How can you change some of those “why” questions you wrote about into “how” questions? What other “How” questions should you be asking? Conclusion  When you encounter a loss and trauma, if you do not allow yourself to fully experience the emotional grief of that loss, you will make it impossible to move past your sadness.  It does no good to deny that the trauma happened or to act like it was a minor thing.  God wants to walk with you through your time of grief. There are specific attitudes and actions that you can engage in that will help you in grieving your loss and move you further along in your journey toward your place of healing.
  12. 12. - 11 - Exercise on Loss: 1. Pull out the image written “Silence: A Slow killer”. Show it to the participants and let them discuss what the statement communicates to them. 2. What have I lost: use the Multiple Losses Sheet and specifically point out and acknowledge what you have lost. 3. What are the most painful memories from the… (Name the particular event)? 4. When you look at the 5 stages of loss, how have you navigated through the process? Or where are you?
  13. 13. - 12 - CHAPTER 2: ANGER AND RESENTMENT: “I AM CHOKED WITH BITTERNESS” Introduction In this session, you will get a general overview of the feelings of anger and how this feelings turn out to be solid resentments within a person over time. Looking at anger and resentment will help you see how these feelings if not dealt with hinder us from achieving complete healing from the traumatic experiences. Case study Jonathan had been living happily with his family in their farm for many years. Though he was from a different tribe from the majority of the neighbors in his community, there was a sense of brotherhood and what he felt was genuine love. His three children went to school with the others and most of them worshipped together in the local Pentecostal church. It was usual for Jonathan to spend the evenings after the long day of farm work with the neighbors in the local shopping Centre discussing politics and other social concerns. A generous man, Jonathan was very popular and engaged with his neighbors. From time to time, he would take part as the chief guest in the fund raising activities for school fees, medical bills and other needs in the community. Suddenly this changed. It was national election time and the animosity between the two tribes started becoming obvious. The political leaders, who were divided along tribal lines, started calling each other names. Hate speeches would be broadcasted in the local Radio stations in the tribal dialects. Almost without warning the nature of his relationship with the neighbors started changing; some would call him and his tribe’s men names while others would refuse to shake hands with him. It was one Friday morning when Jonathan had gone to the church for a prayer meeting. This meeting had been called because people wanted peace to prevail in the community; people from both tribes were present. Though tense, the people of God joined hands and prayed together. Later in the day, Jonathan reports that another meeting was called in the same venue, this time for the members of the other tribe. It was not a prayer meeting but a meeting to plan for war. A decision was made that the members of the tribe that Jonathan belonged should be eliminated from that community. It was to happen that night; those who attended the meeting were made to swear that they would not disclose this secret to the targeted community members.
  14. 14. - 13 - That night, Jonathan lost his elderly mother who could not manage to escape; his house was burnt down, and his wife and three children escaped death by hiding in the thick forest nearby where they were rescued the following morning by the police. Jonathan has since returned to his farm, however, he is separated from the wife and the children who could not get the courage to go back and opted to live in a town they consider safer. Though he has been working very hard to rebuild his life, it is evident that he is still finding it difficult to relate to the neighbors particularly those of the other ethnic group. He and his tribe’s men worship in a church that has only members who are most of his own community; the other communities also have churches which are tribe based. There is evidence of tension, suspicion and open spite for the different communities in as much as there is no fighting going on. Discussion questions 1. What do you think are the emotional injuries that Jonathan suffered? 2. Do you think He was justified to get angry? 3. In what ways do you see Jonathan suffering emotionally today as a result of being resentful? 4. What do you think he should do to deal with his anger and resentments? What is anger?  Anger, as defined by the Webster’s new world dictionary, is feeling of displeasure resulting from injury, mistreatment, opposition, or what is perceived unfair treatment.  It is an emotion that ranges from mild irritation to intense fury and rage.  However, anger is a normal healthy feeling. It is okay to be angry, however, the Bible warns that: “In your anger do not sin” (Eph. 4:26)  Anger, however, can disrupt our thoughts and actions. If left unattended, the feelings of anger turn to concrete resentments eating away at us. What are resentments?  Resentment is hard, cold anger that has over time been turned to tough, stiff and rigid shell around us. This stops us from enjoying the inner peace and relationships with others.  Like deeply rooted weed or slowly hardening concrete, unresolved anger become rigid resentments.  Resentments create a state of hatred and desire for revenge. With hatred in our hearts, we desire to return one injury for another, this is revenge.
  15. 15. - 14 -  One believes he/she cannot let go of rage until those who have done them wrong are punished. Sometimes the hatred and desire for revenge becomes the basis of a relationship. We may have hated someone for so long until we have gotten used to it. Whom Does Resentment hurt?  It hurts the person feeling it more than the person described as the perpetrator;  Resentment controls the person feeling it as they spend their precious time thinking and focusing on the person they have described as the offender;  Negative emotions are experienced most of the time;  A victim mentality over Survivor mentality is developed;  Relationships with other people are affected because of the chronic anxiety experienced;  The perpetrators are perceived as bad, thoughtless and unreasonable people; they are labeled;  Psycho-Somatic diseases like depression, hypertension, ulcers, heart diseases, aches and pains, amongst others may occur
  16. 16. - 15 - FURTHER EXPLORATION EXERCISE 1. What body sensations do you have when you are angry? 2. Do you experience similar sensations today when you think about post-election violence? 3. What feelings do you experience when you think about those you consider to be responsible for the post-election violence? 4. Do these feelings communicate resentments based on what you have learnt about resentments? 5. What do you believe is the purpose of resentments? How do you justify resentments? 6. How did you see other people you suffered together (parents, siblings, neighbors, leaders etc.) deal with their anger and resentments towards the perceived perpetrators? How are they dealing with it today? 7. How have these methods influenced your own responses? 8. If you have been holding resentments against a person, people, institutions or even God, how might this affect your healing from the other emotional wounds of trauma? 9. How could you handle resentments more effectively?
  17. 17. - 16 - CHAPTER 3: FEAR AND SUSPICION: “I AM AFRAID, I CANNOT TRUST” Introduction After traumatic experiences like those of post-election violence, fear and suspicion are normally some of the most challenging experiences that remain for a long time. They produce intense physical and emotional discomfort and leave one in a state of vulnerability. The irony is that the more we entertain fear and suspicion, the more we create situations in our world that continue to give us more reasons to be suspicious, to fear and to feel helpless. We end up in a vicious cycle of despair and frustration that only we can free ourselves from. Case study When Isaac went back to his farm a year after the post-election violence, he was scared of everyone. He could not bring back his family with him because it was obvious to him that the village was not yet safe. The demand of feeding his family forced him to take the risk and go back to till the land. Walking in to what was once his familiar territory, nothing was the same. The once vibrant neighborhood turned to a grave like filled with fear. One could almost smell despair and death. People who once fellowshipped together in their churches without tribal thoughts or care had isolated themselves into a cocoon of tribal churches. The ethnicity of the Pastor and the leadership of the church seemed to determine the membership of the church. It was obvious that Isaac needed to join the church of his tribesmen to feel safe. At the local trading center, Isaac found that there was a lot of pretense and the interactions were once again based on tribes. Though people would openly shake hands with those of the other ethnicity, tension was always sensed. People changed the topic of discussion especially if it was of political nature or one they considered sensitive when an individual from the other community showed up...
  18. 18. - 17 - Biblical Reference: The story of Jacob (see Genesis 27-33) Genesis 27 narrates the story of Jacobs’s conspiracy with his mother to take by pretense the blessings that rightfully belonged to Esau. “Jacob said to his father “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me”. That was the beginning of the hatred and animosity between the brothers. When Rebecca realized what Esau was planning to kill Jacob, she advised him to free for his life for a few days. The few days ended up being twenty years of separation with his brother. When the time came for Jacob to go back to his homeland, there was fear and suspicion; he did not know how his brother would react upon seeing him. So afraid was he that he had to first send gifts to soften his brothers heart, and divide his family into three groups just in case Esau decide to attack them. Upon meeting Esau, Jacob bowed down before him as a sign of humility. Fortunately, Gods favor was upon Jacob and Esau had made a decision to forgive his brother. It is, however, clear that Jacob was still suspicious, he refused to follow the brother immediately insisting that Esau goes ahead with an excuse that his livestock would die if driven too fast. When you look closely however, you see fear and suspicion. Reflection on The Following Based on Isaac’s case study and the Bible story of Jacob and his brother, answer the following questions: 1. Based on these stories and your personal experience, what are some of the fears that you have in the present moment? 2. Do you notice any form of suspicion among the people of different ethnic groups in your community? How does this suspicion present? 3. As you think about the community in which you live today in the view of political campaigns and elections, what are some of your fears? 4. Considering the experience of Jacob and Esau, what actions can help you and your community to deal with fear and suspicion? Facing Fear and Finding Freedom When it comes to emotions, fear is one of the most challenging to deal with. It is a great tool that the devil uses to keep us in captivity. When afraid, one becomes immobilized and unable to do even the list and most obvious of the obligations. Whereas fear is not of God, the all understanding God, do understand our fears and is willing to deliver us from each one of them.
  19. 19. - 18 - “For God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline,” 2nd Timothy 1:7 Tackling Fear? 1. Acknowledge that you are fearful and specifically list what you are afraid of. King David acknowledged his fears to God. 2. Surrender Your Fears to Jesus: “When I am afraid, I will…trust…in You" (Psalm 56:3). As the scripture shows David was indeed afraid but what did he do? He entrusted his fears to God. Mention your fears to God one by one. “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Math.11:28). 3. You Are Not Alone: Isaiah 41:10 :”Fear not, for I am with you”. Allow Jesus to take you by your hand. Make use of the opportunities that God gives you to confront your fears. 4. Engage in Positive Self-Talk: What are you telling yourself about the circumstances you find yourself in? When you do a check of your mind, are you engaged in this kind of internal dialogue: “It is a hopeless situation”; “I am a victim and there is nothing I can do about my situation”. How about developing healthy positive self-talk as you entrust your life and circumstances to God? “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things (Phil. 4: 8-9). Right now it may feel like there is nothing positive but do a check and give thanks as you reflect on those positive things. Meditate on the following:  “I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me,” (Phil.4:13).  “Now in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” (Romans 8:37).
  20. 20. - 19 - Further Exploration 1. How do you know when you are feeling fear or you are suspicious? 2. What are your current fears in regard to the post-election violence or any other traumatic experience you may have gone through? 3. What do you think contributes to your current fears and suspicion? Do you think your fears are varied and genuine? 4. For the fears and suspicion that are genuine, how do you intend to practically deal with them? 5. If some of your fears and suspicions are not genuine, how do you hope to deal with them? 6. How does your experiences and way of life since the traumatic experience contribute to your fears today? 7. How would you describe fear based behaviors? And which ones do you engage in? 8. How do your friends and neighbors fear- based behaviors influence you? 9. What are three effective things you can do to deal with your fear and suspicion
  21. 21. - 20 - CHAPTER 4: SHAME AND GUILT: “I WANT TO HIDE” Introduction With loss and trauma, comes shame and guilt. On one hand shame is a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace. We feel shame when we think that we are bad. Guilt is a sense that you have done something wrong that needs to be punished. Shame is a sense that something is wrong with you; you are broken or defective in some way. The self-perpetuation guilt/shame spiral Whether or not you recognize this pattern, if you experience guilt and shame you know how painful it is and how hopeless and helpless it leaves one feeling.
  22. 22. - 21 - “No Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8: 1 REALLY??? THE PROBLEM WITH SHAME  As much as shame can be legitimate when there is rebellion against God and His standards, loss or trauma tends to inflict unnecessary shame; a horrible feeling that one is deficient and undesirable;  The natural fear of exposure is hiding; denial and deception; THE PROBLEM WITH GUILT  Guilt is good, created by God to let us know where we are sinning;  However, sometimes Satan inflict us with tormenting false guilt feelings that have nothing to do with God’s laws;  That kind of false guilt produces frustration and depression because there is no way to get rid of false guilt.  For example, there is Role and Responsibility Guilt which says, “It was my responsibility to keep my men safe. Some of them died, so obviously I did not do my job. It is my entire fault”. See other examples of False Guilt here below:
  23. 23. - 22 - Examples of False Guilt It is normal to feel sad, angry and frustrated about how things turned out – but do not turn that emotion in on yourself. You were not meant to bear the responsibility for those unfair and unfortunate events. Remember you have a spiritual enemy who is trying to manipulate the memories of those events in order to weaken and destroy you. Question: Carefully look at the examples given of false guilt and find out if you are suffering from any kind of that false guilt. Dealing with it: 1. Search through your heart and recognize the kind of false guilt you may be going through. 2. Shine a spotlight on its source, that is, Satan. 3. Pray and ask God to remove it from you. The false guilt may or may not leave immediately but keep bringing it before God and let Him take that burden off your shoulders. God is more than willing to set you free; indeed Jesus came to set the captives free. DEALING WITH REAL GUILT As you consider the post-election violence or other traumatic events in your life, you may have sinned. But the good news is: Survivors's Guilt •"I should not have survived while others died." •If I'd suffered more, others would have survived les.s" Guilt over survivors joy •"I am so glad i did not not get killed." •"How can i feel good when others survived?" Guilt over Freeze Response " I always thought i was brave, but i just froze in a corner, i could not move." Competency Guilt "if only i had acted quicker, more skillfully or smarter, my family/commu nity would not have suffered and died." Helplessness Guilt •"I wanted so badly to get my spouse /child out of the line of fire, but they had him pinned down. If only I could have gotten to him, he'd still be alive today."
  24. 24. - 23 - 1. If you are feeling guilty about those sins, it is because you are sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. 2. You are not alone- all of us have sinned. It is a fact of human condition and Jesus Christ is more than ready to fix it. No matter how bad you feel your sins are, even “red like crimson” (Isaiah 1:18), God can forgive them, and no longer hold you accountable for them. Jesus Christ was willing to be held accountable on the cross in your place. He was willing to replace our sins with His perfect righteousness. To have Jesus’ sacrificial death apply to your sins, you need to take two steps: CONFESS: In Greek the word “confess” means, “to say the same thing as”. When God has told you, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that what you did was wrong, you confess by saying: “Yes, it is true. I (stole/destroyed property/killed/raped) and I agree it was wrong. Please forgive me”. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9) Exercise: Take a few minutes alone and present yourself before God. Ask Him to reveal to you any sins that are creating a separation between you and Him. Ask Him to be very specific about it. On a separate piece of paper, make a list of all the sins that He tells you about. Take the list and agree with Him regarding each thing the Holy Spirit convicted you. Ask Him to forgive you. Tear the paper. “As far as the north is far from the east so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 13:12.
  25. 25. - 24 - REPENT: In Greek, the word “repent” means to “turn around and go to the other direction”. While “confess” has to do with an agreement between you and God that takes place in the Spiritual realms, “repent” has to do with an action that needs to take place in the physical world. God is not just interested with agreement with Him about your sins. He is interested in CHANGED ACTION. When repentance happens, it clears the way for God to being His healing unhindered. RESTITUTION: in some cases you may need to make restitution/restoration as part of your repentance. Forgiveness does not mean you are released from the responsibility attached to your sin. Part of your healing my involve taking steps to make things right with other people; seek God’s direction as you do that. NOTE: Remember God forgave Paul who had threatened, chased, kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured and killed Christians; He will certainly forgive you as you confess and repent. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord- Acts 3:19
  26. 26. - 25 - SUGGESTED STEPS AT YOU TAKE A STEP TO SEEK FORGIVENESS FROM ANOTHER 1. Ask God to show you who you have hurt. Consider praying the prayer that David prayed: “Search me, o God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24). Has God brought one or more people to your mind? Write their names here or use another paper_________________________________________________ 2. Ask God for forgive you for the pain you caused them. You have sinned against the person but also against God. Go through the process of confession and repentance regarding this incident. Get right with God first. 3. Pray for the one you have hurt: Spend time praying for the one you hurt physically or emotionally and ask God to heal them from the wound you caused. Ask God that through His supernatural power and love, that the wounded person will overcome the hard feelings they hold. Also ask God to make a way to meet with them and to make him or her receptive to your request for forgiveness. 4. Take the initiative and go to the one you have hurt and ask for forgiveness: This may not be easy but remember Jesus is in the company of the righteous and He is pleased with what you are doing. “…don't worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit” Mark 13:11 (New Living Translation) 5. Work on Rebuilding trust with that person: If the person is not ready to talk with you, do not feel sad or guilty because you have played your part. They may or may not say that they have forgiven you. Regardless you cannot necessarily expect your relationship to go immediately back to how it was before. You broke trust with that person; it may take some time to rebuild. However, it will take some initiative on your part to demonstrate that you meant what you said, and that you have changed. Ask God to inspire you on how to do that.
  27. 27. - 26 - CHAPTER 5: FORGIVINESS: “FOR WHOM” “Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person's throat...When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established. Forgiveness does not excuse anything…You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely. And then one day you will pray for his wholeness......” W. Paul Young, The Shack. Introduction The idea of forgiveness has brought about feelings of guilt to many Christians who feel they can never measure up to the Biblical expectations of “forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Sometimes it feels like the Biblical expectations of forgiveness are not realistic. Other times frustration sets in when there is a genuine desire to forgive and, indeed, forgiveness is confessed but one “feels” the same way they did before they forgave. The anger, resentments, sadness and other feelings seem to still linger leading to confusion about forgiveness. This session looks at what forgiveness is all about and attempts to provide a suggested model of forgiveness based on the Bible. The case study provided seeks to illustrate the power of forgiveness in the healing journey Case study It was two years after the post-election violence when Jane came face to face with the man who commanded the troop that attacked her homestead. It seemed as though it just happened that morning. The pain was too fresh. She could remember in every detail how that cruelest ambush snatched Jane’s most precious possession, her husband and two sons, an attack that left Jane with a wounded arm and a broken heart. Now this morning, miles and miles away from where it happened, the perpetrator appeared to her. Neither of them hoped to see the other, but in this public forum they faced each other in a meeting that had been organized by the church. When he stood to speak, Jane recognized him. He was there, a public figure, smartly dressed and eloquent. This man had obviously moved on. What happened in that cold dark night, two years ago, miles away was not obvious in the face of this “innocent” looking Christian man.
  28. 28. - 27 - Jane’s heart sunk within her. She wished for the earth to open up and swallow her. She could not stand the anger, agony, bitterness and hatred she was feeling for the man she always believed was responsible for her miserly. What hurt even more is the realization that this man seemed to have moved on and forgotten about all he did. In great agony and with tears rolling down her face, Jane rose to her feet. Her first thought was to push her way through the crowd and finish this man with her bare hands. On second thought, however, she turned around and dashed out in tears. A friend who was sitting next to her followed her out wondering what had suddenly happened. As they sat together talking, Jane’s grief was obvious. She knew that as a Christian she needed to forgive, yet the pain was too much. All along she had silently wished that this man and his entire troop would pay for what they did. Now coming face to face with him, and worse still, as the leader of the group, and talking confidently was unbearable. “If God has failed to punish him, I will do it myself” were the first words Jane said to her friend. Jane had no idea how to do it. She only felt it was unfair for the offended party to have suffered so much emotional pain while the offender seemed to go free. But that was not the only problem. Jane also felt really guilty for carrying the pain and grudge in her heart. These are things she believed should not be found in the heart of a “good Christian”. She felt guilty and angry at herself not only this times but many times when she wanted to revenge or when she wished bad things for the perpetrators. In this confusion, Jane felt very angry with God. “What is wrong with God” she wondered many times. “Where was He? Why would He not have stopped it? Jane felt there must be something terribly wrong with the whole idea of God and Christianity. Yet she kept all this to herself not wanting to appear different and be isolated by others in the Christian community. Will Jane find the grace to forgive this man? What about her anger, hatred, and desire for revenge? Will she find a way of letting go of the emotional pain and live a free life? Will she find peace within and with God? Reflective Questions 1. What emotions and feelings is Jane wrestling with? 2. What do you think Jane needs to do in order to: a. Forgive herself b. Forgive this man and others involved c. Make peace with God 3. Do you think Jane needs to ask for forgiveness herself? If yes, from whom and for what?
  29. 29. - 28 - Forgiving is a choice: The Bible requires that we forgive others so that we are forgiven yet that does not override the will of the individual. You still have a choice. For forgiveness to be effective, you need to get ready. Even when the offender apologizes or attempts to make amends, you still need to make a personal deliberate choice to forgive. We may probably not be ready to forgive yet. May be the pain is too fresh. May be we need sometimes to think through it. We don’t need to feel pressured or rushed. Many times Christian are too quick to say “I have forgiven him or her” simply because they feel guilty. We need to process the experience and be sincerely ready to work on it. This processing however should not be forever. The guiding principle here is honesty. Ask yourself these questions regarding the matter you need to deal with through forgiveness:  Am I delaying forgiveness simply because I get pleasure from nurturing hatred and resentments?  Am I keeping the enemy in the person I refuse to forgive so that I can use them as an excuse for my unhappiness?  Is harboring the feelings of anger, resentment, and hatred towards this person what gives my life a sense of excitement?  Do I want to keep the resentment so that I can have an excuse for my violent, abusive or irrational behavior towards the persons or others? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DO NOT FORGIVE? Characteristic Effects Concentration and attention Our focus is mostly on the emotional baggage we are carrying hence we lose attention on more important things. Depression and discouragement It may lead to physical ailment. Self esteem We look down upon ourselves; we are what we think we are. Language Use harsh, unhealthy language when talking about others. No Pleasure Our pleasure life, including sleep, may not be enjoyed to the maximum. Relationships We tent to project to others, which affect our relationship with family members, friends, workers, neighbors amongst others. SOME MISCONCEPTION ABOUT FORGIVENESS One must forgive and forget It is hard to erase things from our God-given memories; we may remember without bitterness.
  30. 30. - 29 - Forgiving and reconciliation are one and the same thing ‘Although reconciliation maybe initiated by one party, for it to take place the two parties must be willing to reconcile. However, forgiveness is a decision made individually and independently. Forgiveness is avoidance Forgiving is not making light of something we find hurtful. “Forgiveness is not merely a soft attitude towards a harsh fact…,” says Dwight Small. Forgiveness is excusing Forgiveness does not mean that we exempt or shield the offender from taking responsibility for their actions and choices. The offender will still be accountable and responsible to their maker; we however, choose not to assume the responsibility of God. “Vengeance is mine,” says the lord Forgiving is a feeling If you are waiting for a feeling to forgive to come upon you, it probably will not. Forgiveness is an act of obedience to God. God knows that hanging on to feelings of anger; rage and need for revenge will destroy us physically and spiritually. We therefore take a step of forgiving no matter how we feel and the feelings will follow. Forgiving is trusting untrustworthy person Forgiving does not mean you automatically allow the offender back into your life but you need to start working on your relationship, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” Romans 12:18. WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE THEM? 1. For Your Own Good: There is a worldwide plant known as poison ivy, which causes bad rash that spread on the whole body causing a lot of itchiness for more than a week. The “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by it many are defiled” (Heb. 12:15
  31. 31. - 30 - only way to kill the plant is to pull it roots because it spreads secretary taking over an entire field. This is like the “root of bitterness” spoken of in Hebrews 12:15. When we have been wounded physically, emotionally and spiritually and feel helplessness against the consequences, conditions are ideal for bitterness to grow. Unfortunately that bitterness, which spreads like poison ivy does absolutely nothing to the guilty one- only to the one who was wounded. The only way to pull out that deep root of bitterness is through forgiving the offender for our own good. 2. Forgiveness is a God-like characteristic: Being the children of a forgiving God, His desire is that we become like Him. Indeed, God does not treat us the way we deserve. He forgives. As somebody has said: “the next time you demand your rights, realize that you really do not want your rights… If you got your rights, you would be in hell today”. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation – 2 Corin. 5:19 Exercise: What is your level of confidence that God can perform a miracle in your heart and enable you to forgive your attacker(s)? Circle the number that best applies. Absolutely no way ever ______________________________________ ___________ 1 2 3 4 5 Absolutely sure God can do it Prayer Assignment: With all honesty, possibly you placed your X’s toward the “10” end of the scale above, which is okay because you realize that it will take a miracle for you to forgive the ones who’ve hurt you. The beauty is that God’s love and mercy is supernatural; begin to ask God for that miracle. You won’t be able to generate it on your own- but He can build it into you, if you are open to it and trust Him to do it. 3. Forgiveness Allows God to bring Perfect Justice: In this scripture Jesus seems to be saying that He knows we have been sinned against, and we are entitled to justice “but “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord – Romans 12:19
  32. 32. - 31 - why not step aside, give up your right to repayment and vengeance, and allow me to handle it personally. Vengeance is mine. I will repay”. But the beauty is that the Lord will do it in a way that will free you of your bitterness, bring your attacker to justice and move both of you close to His righteousness. Do you desire to see that happen? Then step aside and allows Gods Word to prevail.
  33. 33. - 32 - SUGGESTED STEPS TO FORGIVING THOSE WHO HAVE WOUNDED YOU 1. Ask God to give you His supernatural mindset for this: Your mindset should be that there is evil, but you have chosen to break the cycle of pain and violent cycle of pain and violence rather than add to the evil, you will starve it and kill it with God’s help. 2. Acknowledge hurt and make a list of your traumatic experiences and who caused each one: Avoid minimizing same through saying, “Oh that does not matter”. Exercise: The table provided here helps you to analyze the experience that caused you pain and appreciate exactly what the experience means to you: I am angry/ resentful at: I am angry at this person because 3. Express those emotions in non-hurtful way: The goal here is to assertively communicate your feelings. When we put words to our feelings, we are more able to take charge of those feelings, and hence we are in control rather than the feelings controlling us. An assertive communication of your emotions involves three key ideas: a. Own your feelings and take responsibility for how you feel. This is expressed by use of “I” statements. E.g. “I feel very angry at_____for…….” The use of the first person “I” in this context denotes owning the feelings being communicated. b. Be clear and specific about the situation arousing the feelings. If you did the first step well, this should be easy. Example (“I feel angry at … for the way he mistreated me (how exactly did he mistreat you) when I was living in his house after being displaced during the post-election violence”. This statement brings out clearly the reason behind the feelings. c. Communicate the desired state of affairs in the relationship. This is a statement that communicates what you would have expected of the offender in the relationship. In the example above one would say “I would have hoped he would be more hospitable towards me as a friend particularly because I have helped him a lot before I got displaced”.
  34. 34. - 33 - Exercise: In each one of the persons indicated in 2 above. Complete the following statements: 1. I Feel_____________________________________________________ 2. Because of _________________________________________________ 3. I would have hoped or expected ________________________________ 4. Seek to understand the motivation of the person to be forgiven: One philosopher said “I will seek to understand rather than to be understood”. This step is not about justifying or condoning the behavior of the person who hurt you. It is about trying to empathize with them. The goal is to come to a place where you find new feelings to replace the current feelings that are not useful. Here is an example that helps illustrate what I mean: Imagine you are traveling in a crowded Matatu. There are people seated and others standing and there is barely enough space for free movement. The person standing next to you, whose face you cannot see, starts moving and she steps on you. She has a very sharp shoe and it really hurts. With all the pain you are experiencing, you start shouting at her, of course you are very angry and understandably because of the pain. You shout and quickly turn towards her now ready to attack. But as soon as you look up, you realize that the one who has stepped on you is blind. Suddenly, your anger dissipates and you start feeling sorry for her, in fact you help her get out of the bus leading her by the hand. What has changed? You are still feeling the physical pain, you have been stepped on. However your perspective is different. When we look at our situation from the other person’s point of view, we begin to see the situation we are in from a new perspective. Exercise: Finding a new perspective  In each one of the persons and situations you have listed, what do you think would have been the motivation or the point of view of the person that is different from what you have always believed? 5. Make an act-of-your-will pronouncement of forgiveness for each person This is an act of obedience and you might pray something like this: “Lord as act of obedience I choose to forgive_______________. I do not feel like it, but I love you, and I know you love me, and I want to obey you. So today I release ___________________ from my judgment. Forgive me for the way I may have hindered your work in me and in him/her by my un-forgiveness. Now I step out of the way so that your will may be done for ______________________ and for me”.
  35. 35. - 34 - 6. You can also choose to write a letter: A useful tool at this stage may also be the healing letter exercise. This exercise is designed to help you process information. When put on paper overwhelming feelings are put into perspective. This letter is for the purpose of making the act of forgiving open. The letter may be addressed to any person, living or dead. It may also be written to self or God. You might find it useful to destroy the letter after writing it through a “releasing ritual”. Steps in writing a healing letter  Write the letter when you are free from distractions. It is most effective if you compose it in one sitting.  Complete each section fully before going on to the next sections. Sometimes one section may be a few sentence or even many pages. There is no limit as long as each section is addressed.  Follow the order given in the instructions. This is important in the process  Focus on your feelings “I feel so resentful when………………….” Or I experience guilt or fear when….”  Refrain from editing yourself, judging or holding back. Don’t worry about seeming irrational, petty, childish or dramatic.  When you write the letter, remember it is only meant for you. Let it all out. Don’t hold back.  Write your healing letter when and where you feel safe and when you have support available.  Get rid of the letter by burning, shredding, flushing or burying. These kinds of healing rituals bring closure  The letter should end with a section on love, understanding, gratitude, forgiveness and life lessons towards self and others involved. It might be difficult to have these attitudes towards the offenders. Acknowledge this and turn these thoughts towards self. Eg “even though….. I can still be thankful that I made it through……and love and accept my courage”.  When you complete the letter, read it aloud to yourself( or to someone you really trust) Outline of the letter  Section one: Anger, Frustration and Blame  Section two: Hurt and Sadness  Section three: Fear and Insecurity  Section four: Guilt and Responsibility  Section five: Positive Desire and Intentions
  36. 36. - 35 -  Section six: Love, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Understanding and lessons learnt. 7. Decide whether you want reconciliation Reconciliation is means to restore a bond of love and communication after there has been rapture. Reconciling or not reconciling does not indicate the success of the forgiveness process. The reconciliation process depends on whether the other person is ready for reconciliation. While reconciliation is many times a useful process in healing our emotional wounds, not being ready for reconciliation should not hinder us from effecting forgiveness. Further exploration 1. What is your own definition of forgiveness? 2. What is the purpose of forgiveness in the emotional healing process? 3. If you suffered a great deal of loss during the traumatic experience (post-election violence or otherwise) how does this experience affect your capacity to forgive? 4. What aspects of forgiveness do have most difficulties with and for what reasons? a. Forgiving self____________________________________________________ b. Forgiving others__________________________________________________ c. Asking for forgiveness_____________________________________________ d. Making peace with God____________________________________________ 5. How would you benefit from being able to completely forgive in your opinion? 6. How do you think the group can help you achieve complete forgiveness and peace of mind?
  37. 37. - 36 - CHAPTER 6: POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) “I FEEL SICK” Introduction: The word “trauma” has been used often but what exactly is it? Trauma is a psychological shock or crisis that comes as an aftermath after witnessing and surviving horrific events and violent mayhems. Trauma symptoms refer to behavioral, cognitive/thoughts, physical, and or emotional difficulties that are directly related to traumatic experience. Trauma may result after: o Physical assault/beating/torture/terrorism o Sexual or psychological abuse; rape/incest o Kidnapping; being held hostage o Natural and man- made disasters/Accidents o Receiving devastating news, such as diagnoses of a life-threatening illness o Surviving and witnessing threating, mutilating or deadly events. Without immediate intervention following traumatizing events, significant symptoms of psychological distress including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and major depression may result. Such patients may present with varied and complex symptoms including headaches, abdominal pains, sleep difficulties, traumatic brain injury, body aches and pains, psychosomatic illness, depression, anxiety, and injuries to eyes, ears and mouth. Some Facts on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):  PTSD is not rare or unusual. It is a common reaction to an uncommon event;  It is normal to be affected negatively by pain, atrocity and horror;  Surviving death/atrocity or witnessing horrific events changes a person;  You are not weak, crazy or strange; you are literally wounded;  PTSD has been called a wound of the soul and a wound of the identity;  If a person gets physically wounded you would not expect them to jumping soon. In the same way a person with a wound to his or her soul will also be out of action for a while.
  38. 38. - 37 - o Researchers say that if debriefing can occur within 3 days of your traumatic episode, one is far likely to develop PTSD hy Can I not Move on? You might be wondering why I am stuck in the past and the crisis is over. But when an event is violent and life-threatening, or if there are multiple events, the brain is unable to leave that crisis-alert mode. PTSD is when the brain gets stuck in that mode. What are the symptoms of PTSD? 1. Re-experiencing Symptoms: Memories and images of the traumatic events suddenly push their way into the minds often accompanied by intense emotions such as grief, guilt, fear or anger. Sometimes the memories are so vivid it seems like they are actually reoccurring. 2. Avoidance Symptoms: Traumatized individuals attempt to avoid situations, people or events that remind them of their trauma. They feel numb, emotionless, withdrawing into themselves and trying to shut out the painful memories and feelings. 3. Arousal Symptoms: Fearing further trauma, PTSD sufferers are always on the alert, on guard, jumpy, unable to sleep, angry, irritable. Many also have concentration and memory problems. W God-Designed Defense Mechanism ----God has equipped us with danger-response mechanisms, which involves suppressing normal emotional reactions in order to focus on the threat at hand. However, God intended that emotions to be felt later and process them in a safe place. The most valuable thing one can be given is a time and a place to talk in order for the suppressed to be experienced and thought about. ----It is okay to get angry about the injustice of your experience so that you can release anger and bitterness. There may be tears, shouting, fear, anxiety and it may even be hard for you to talk. ------But if you can push through, it will be one of the most helpful elements of your house of healing.
  39. 39. - 38 - FURTHER CLASSIFICATION OF PTSD 1. Recurrent Thoughts  Flashbacks  Nightmares  Intrusive thoughts  Sense of confusion 2. Hyper-Arousal  Sleeping problems  Irritability  Aggressiveness  Concentration problems  Startle response 3. Somatic Symptoms  Fatigue/weakness  Gastrointestinal complaints  Cardiac symptoms  Headaches, dizziness  Diffuse aches and pains  Muscular and joint problems 4. Anxiety Reactions  Panic attacks  Generalized anxiety  Hyper vigilance 5. Sadness/Grief  Depressed mood  Loss of interest in previously pleasurable experiences  Loss of appetite  Suicidal thoughts  Social withdrawal  Feelings of shame, guilt, helplessness 6. Avoidance of Situation which reminds of the event  Emotional numbness (being disconnected from family, friends & loved ones, self-medication etc.)  Body numbness CHRONIC PSTD In addition to the cluster symptoms, survivors also:  May resort to use of lethal and/or illegal drugs; basically substance abuse;  Uncontrollable outbreak of anger which makes people unacceptable in society;  Suicidal ideation and a real risk of suicide; and  Some may feel like they are possessed by a spirit DEBRIEFING  This is called Exposure Therapy.  Take them in and out of the traumatic experience so that the event does not remain frozen. It is recommended that it happens between 8 to 72 hours after the incident, however, where it is not possible it can be done later.  Debriefing is like first aid to somebody who has been exposed to traumatic events. The intention is to allow people to talk, express their feelings, and discuss any concerns arising from their incident and most essentially to prevent them from bottling up their feelings/emotions. NB: Severe case of PTSD calls for medical intervention and professional counseling.
  40. 40. - 39 - Remember… 1. Trauma and PTSD are emotional, physiological and spiritual reactions to a life threatening event involving extreme distress, pain and horror. However, not processing that trauma through suppressing, minimizing or denying that it happened can cause a person to get stuck in that crisis mode leading to further emotional and physical ailment. 2. The ultimate source of trauma is not God but man’s inhumanity to man, influenced by Satan and his demonic forces. But God is there with you know, standing ready to help you in this crisis. 3. God was with you when you walked through the fire of your traumatic event(s). We cannot run away from His saving arms now as illustrated by the below story by Rev. Christ Adsit: “Have you ever watched a bunch of chicks with their mother hen? When danger comes, they instantly scurry toward their mother, who lifts her wings and gathers them underneath for protection. Could you imagine a hyena bounding into the chicken yard and one of the chicks running away from the hen and toward the hyena? That would be one foolish or confused chick. And one very happy hyena! `And yet so many of us, when problems bound in our lives, we decide to run away from the Supreme Problem Solver of the universe, rather than toward Him”. In what direction are you running right now – toward God or away from Him? Why?
  41. 41. 40 CHAPTER 7: REMEMBERING WHAT HAPPENED Case Study The young lady woke up with the usual big smile. As the Kings daughter, she had servants all over her. However, the circumstances were strange on that day because her father had asked her to go attend her step- brother, Amnon, who was unwell. It did not make sense at all why she had to do it while there were servants all over; nevertheless, she looked forward to the hour. At mid-day, Tamar, the young lady quickly made her way to the brother’s house and fixed the meal. When it was time to serve him, Amnon sent the servant out as Tamar. As Tamar entered into the room, she noticed that Amnon was still lying in bed and with a fishy smile on his face. Unaware of what awaited her, she extended her hand to pass the food to him, but, Lo, and behold, using his left hand, Amnon placed the food on the table while using his right hand, he pulled Tamar into his bed. Confused, Tamar tried to resist urging him to talk to their father about the matter. But nothing was going to deter Amnon from his scheme. He got hold of Tamar and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. Yes, she sexually abused her sister Tamar. After the act, with such intense hatred, Amnon threw Tamar out of the house. He actually called his servant saying, “Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.” Disgraced, not knowing where to turn to, Tamar tore the ornate (beautiful) robe she wore; the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. She put ashes on her head. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went. Intuitively, her brother, Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman. Reflective Questions 1. Describe the kind of emotions and the effect of the same upon Tamar after her traumatic experience: 2. Absalom advised Tamar not to “take this thing to heart”; what are your thoughts about that kind of advice especially as you think of Absalom killing his brother Amnon two years later (Refer to 2nd Samuel 13): 3. “And Tamar lived in her brothers Absalom’s house, a desolate woman”. Describe how it was for Tamar to remain isolated in the house. How would have the situation been handled for Tamar to integrate back to the society? (Desolate also means abandoned, isolated, forsaken, and deserted).
  42. 42. 41 “When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans” – Psalm 32:3 “I am better off not remembering”:  Do those words sound familiar? After going through a traumatic experience there is a tendency to feel numbness, trying to block any thought related to what happened, not to want to talk about it or turn it off with alcohol/drugs or any other kind of addiction.  But meditate on King David’s word above; what happened when he kept it all inside?  Like mentioned when discussing PTSD, in a horrific situation, the brains slips into a defensive stance in order to keep one alive. And events that need to be processed are suppressed.  But once out of danger, those things need to be thought about, judged, responded to, connected to your emotions, mourned and filed properly in your mind and life.  When suppressed those events and the emotions that went with along with them, will become like an infection. When an infection is not dealt with, it gets worse every day. Getting the Secrets out: Most probably Tamar was told by her family not to tell anybody that Amnon had raped her. In many African cultures, secrets, especially family secrets are highly valued. There are proverbs like “issues of home are not to be shared just anyhow”. Of course, that is true and we do not need to wash our dirty linens in the public. However, to process traumatic events, they must be brought out in a safe and confidential environment. This is because the more suppressed they are, the more they eat us from inside, and ultimately one starts wasting away externally. Exercise: Letter Writing There are various exercises that can help one in crossing this bridge of bringing out what has be stored in the mind. For now we are recommending letter writing as healing work- not play. It is useful to put thoughts into words and then going through the physical action of
  43. 43. 42 writing them down in the paper. If you can’t write, perhaps you could simply craft an oral presentation. Before you engage in the letter writing exercise, keep in mind the following:  The letter is just for you and you are not expected to share it with anybody else;  Spend a few minutes in prayer asking God to direct you and for courage to write. o “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in the spirit” Psalm 34:18  Relaxed and focus;  Imagine you are watching a TV show or movie about your traumatic experience; how would you describe it;  The desire is not to cause more trauma, so if you start experiencing any of the following, it is time to stop for a while; Fainting spells, uncontrollable shivers, irregular heartbeat, flashbacks/hallucinations, and thoughts of suicide or killing someone, nausea and so on.  If you do not think you are capable of writing your story, consider recording it on a tape recorder or simply tell it to a friend who will write down the main outline of your story for you. Remember the following comforting words from Dr. Aphrodie Matsaki’s book, I Can’t Get Over it:  You will not die, explode, disintegrate, or stop functioning if you dare to remember;  Remembering will not result in the memories actually re-occurring as real-life events  The memories will eventually become less intense. WRITING YOUR STORY This exercise has 3 parts: Part 1: MY LIFE BEFORE TRAUMA 1. Spend some time writing about what life was like before you went through the traumatic experience. The following questions might stimulate your thinking but no need to answer all of them- just the ones that you would like to write about- perhaps three or four.  How was your home like? How did you get along with your family and neighbors?  What did you like or not like about yourself?  What did you believe about God then?  What were you realistic about? Naïve about?  What did you enjoy most? What made you happy?  What was the biggest struggle then?
  44. 44. 43  What were your friends like?  What were your goals or dreams for yourself then?  Can you think of a “theme” word or sentence for your life before the event? Part 2: WHAT HAPPENED TO ME DURING THE FIGHTING? Allow your mind to go back and remember the sensory and emotional details of what happened. What did you smell? What did you hear? What did you taste? Describe the heat, cold, and so on. How did the experience make you feel? What were your emotional reactions to the trauma? For you to heal completely, the trauma must be reworked not only on the mental level, but on the emotional level as well. This requires two further processes: a. First, the feelings generated by the trauma that were not felt at the time need to be identified b. Second, and more difficult, the feelings must be experienced, at least in part, on an emotional level.  The feelings that trauma generated are perhaps the most powerful feelings known to human beings, among them are fear, anger, grief and guilt. Biblical Example: After the nation of Israel was conquered by the Babylonians and taken in chains to Babylon, their emotions were obviously high. But they did not hold them back. They experienced and expressed them through their weeping, morning and writing this lament. “Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put tour harps, Hanging them on the branches of poplar trees. For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” Psalm 137:1-3 Part 3: MY LIFE SINCE THE FIGHTING Where am I? Here we take realistic account of your life at present – both the good stuff and the bad. Be honest and open; not only about the facts concerning your current status, but also how you feel about them. Here are some questions that may stimulate your thinking (just answer what you feel motivated to answer): a. In what ways are you different from your pre-traumatic experience?
  45. 45. 44 b. What kind of work are you doing now, if any? Is this work satisfying or frustrating? Is it what you expected to be doing? c. How is your relationship with spouse/family/children/friends/neighbors? d. Can you remember any recent incidents that really show your current level of frustration, anger and pain? e. What are your most frustrating symptoms? f. What triggers your symptoms and what happens when they are triggered/ produced? How often does it happen? g. What makes you want to weep, pound the table, kick the wall? h. What is significance of your traumatic experience to you? Can you find any meaning in it? i. How different is your life now and how does that make you feel? j. What are some positive things that are in your life at present? What gives you joy, hope, energy? k. What is fun for you? What do you look forward to doing? Inviting Jesus into your pain: “He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light” Job 12:22) Jesus desires to come in every area of our lives and bring healing and victory. He wants to enter even your darkest, most terrifying corners in order to conquer your enemies hiding there – whether they are physical, emotional or spiritual. CLOSURE  It is important, in traumatic events, to carry out a symbolic task to bring a sense of closure.  There are several rituals one can carry out including burning the written letter; however, feel free to choose what fits you best.  Some therapy groups have opted to do a candle lighting where the candle goes round in the group and every person makes a declaration of a new beginning with Jesus help.
  46. 46. 45 CHAPTER 8: SELF-HATRED: “AM I VALUED?” Introduction: Loss and trauma has been described as the disease of the soul and identity. It often leads to low self-esteem/negative self-image, broken self-identity or pessimistic self-view, which all comes down to self-hatred. When severe trauma is experienced, how a person views themselves is often shaken to the core. Whereas before people used to see themselves as capable, decisive, strong and worthy; with trauma those qualities are replaced with fear, confusion, powerlessness and helplessness. While trauma may indeed have started the fire of self-hatred, Satan adds to that fuel through some unhealthy comments we received or through negative self-talk (what we tell ourselves about ourselves). SELF-PERCEPTION ASSESSMENT Steven Stosney, an international authority on trauma, shares 8 types of self-perception listed below; the positive side and the negative side; place an X somewhere on each line that indicates how you currently see yourself: Respected--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Not Respected Important -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Unimportant Forgiven----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Accused/Guilty Valued-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Not Valued Accepted----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Rejected Powerful----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Powerless Loveable----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Unlovable Connected-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Separated
  47. 47. 46 Our enemy, Satan would like us to be on the extreme right, which keeps you in a defenseless position. All war is based on deception. Satan has been perfecting his deceptive tactics for thousands of years. Even when out of danger, Satan continues to attack who we are in Christ as Apostle Paul says, “We are not ignorant of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11) He whispers lies in the subconscious at the weakest moments and he will point incidents that prove what he wants us to believe about ourselves. But why should we believe the lies of the enemy and his forces? Let’s begin the journey of building confidence and restoration as we look at 8 Satan’s deceptive traps and the Biblical truths we need to stand on. Each lie will be followed by a countering TRUTH that God wants you to hear and believe. DECEPTION # 1: NOT RESPECTED Lies of the enemy: “You are nobody. No one cares about you. No one wants to know you. You don’t deserve the respect that others get. Who do you think you are anyway?” Have you heard any of those comments before? Have you made them to yourself? Following the trauma, several things have changed but to say, “Because I was treated unfairly and I am not functioning as I used to, I am not worthy of respect” is an absolute lie! YOUR TRUE IDENTITY: RESPECTED  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends… John 15:15  Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir. – Galatians 4:7  That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters. – Hebrews 12:11 YOU ARE KNOWN, LOVED AND CHOSEN BY GOD! “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of all lies”. John 8:44
  48. 48. 47 DECEPTION # 2: NOT IMPORTANT Lies of the enemy: “No one wants to hear my opinions. Don’t call us, we’ll call you. What have you ever accomplished? My relatives are ashamed of me. ” Does that ring a bell? YOUR TRUE IDENTITY: IMPORTANT  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. – John 1:12  You are the salt of the earth. – Matthew 5: 13  You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14 YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH, SALT AND THE LIGHT THAT SHINES. DECEPTION # 3: ACCUSED/GUILTY  Lies of the enemy: “You did terrible thing. You cannot be forgiven. You need to be punished. You can’t be trusted. You are hypocrite”. Ever felt that accusatory language coming from within you? YOUR TRUE IDENTITY: FORGIVEN  Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Romans 5:1  Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. – Hebrews 10:17 YOU ARE FORGIVEN AND EMBRACED BY THE LOVING ARMS OF JESUS! DECEPTION # 4: NOT VALUED  Lies of the enemy:” We don’t need you. Your position does not allow. You don’t have what it takes. You are worthless. There are others better than”. YOUR TRUE IDENTITY: VALUED  I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.” – Jeremiah 31:3  …for God has bought you with a high price” 1 Corinthians 6: 20  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
  49. 49. 48 YOU ARE CHOSEN AND BELONG TO THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD DECEPTION # 5: REJECTED  Lies of the enemy: “You are a failure. What are your credentials? No one wants you. Everyone else is better than you. If I speak my mind, they will walk away”. YOUR TRUE IDENTITY: ACCEPTED  Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted (Isaiah 52:13)  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16  Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me (Isaiah 49:16). YOR ARE ENGRAVED ON THE PALMS OF HIS HANDS. DECEPTION # 6: POWERLESS Lies of the enemy: “You are weak. You cannot do it. Can’t you do anything right? How helpless can you be? Someone’s always got to take care of you”. YOUR TRUE IDENTITY: POWERFUL  For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”. – 2 Timothy 1:7  …because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world”. – 1 John 4:4  …Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” 1 John 5: 5 ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOU DECEPTION # 7: UNLOVABLE Lies of the enemy: ”Who would ever love you? Who would think about you in your state? I do not deal with your type”. YOUR TRUE IDENTITY: LOVABLE  “…nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Romans 8: 38, 39  But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5: 8
  50. 50. 49 HIS LOVE FOR YOU IS UNCONDITIONAL DECEPTION # 8: SEPARATED Lies of the enemy: “You are all alone and you will always be. Do not bother others; languish in your pain. People wish you weren’t here. You can survive on your own anyway”. YOUR TRUE IDENTITY: CONNECTED  All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is part of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:27  You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. – Ephesians 2:19 (NIV) YOU BELONG TO THE BODY OF CHRIST
  51. 51. 50 CONCLUSION Regardless of the traumatic experiences you have gone through, we believe that as you have gone through this book, the Lord has brought some healing and restoration. He is the healer and we ask that you solely depend on Him as you continue with this journey. However, we are calling upon you to walk alongside others in this journey of healing. In the recent past Kenya has witnessed horrific events of ethnic and political violence leading to traumatization to adults and children. Reach out to them and patiently walk with them through this manual. We humbly recognize that “we are not competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God (2nd Corin. 3:5). May the Lord infill us with His Holy Spirit as we become the bearer of Good news that bring healing and restoration. “A HEART AT PEACE GIVES LIFE TO THE BODY” Proverbs 14:30 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2nd Tim. 2:2)