This Center for Trauma Studies grew out of a desire to provide professional counselors and students with opportunities to integrate their Christian faith with crisis intervention strategies and trauma models for meeting people’s needs at their moments of deepest distress. Jesus recognized this need when he said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). One does not need to look to the distant past or across an ocean to see that there is a significant need for direct mental health services following crises.
- February 2003, an ongoing war began between the Sudanese government and their Janjaweed allies against rebel forces that has cost anywhere from 500,000 to 180,000 lives as a result of murder, starvation, or disease in Darfur (Hearn, 2006).
- Death tolls from Sichuan earthquake in China May 12, 2008 exceed 69,190 with over 18,000 people still unaccounted for and 374,176 injured (Tam, 2008; Yunlong, 2008).
- Typhoon Nargis ravaged Myanmar May 2, 2008 leaving 84,537 people dead, 53,836 missing, and 2.4 million seriously affected (Heilprin, 2008).
- April 16, 2007, during the deadliest college mass murder in American history, Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus before turning a gun on himself and taking his own life (Bender, 2007).
- Hurricane Katrina August 28, 2005, left at least 1,300 people dead (Associated Press, 2006) and displaced upwards of 1 million people throughout the nation (Sullivan, 2008). It is estimated that 500 people are still utilizing temporary FEMA trailers today (Alpert, 2008, Sullivan, 2008).
With this rapid increase in both manmade and natural disasters, it is vital for counseling, psychology, and psychiatric programs to embrace a more formalized curriculum for training professionals to serve the needs of individuals both in the United States and abroad. It is our hope that by arming individuals with these skills, and providing participants with national and international opportunities to apply what they have learned, we can fulfill the mission of Regent University, to train Christian leaders to change the world.