In our professional and personal lives we’ve all experienced the discomfort of being involved in a difficult conversation. Sensitive topics are especially hard to discuss – both for the person who initiates the conversation and as a participant. Sometimes discussing a sensitive issue is hard because of its personal nature or because we don’t feel equipped to talk about the subject matter.
When Community Clergy Training Program participants were asked if they felt prepared to minister to Military/Veterans (including Reserve and National Guard Members) about Military Sexual Trauma (MST) it became evident that they did not. In fact, of nine different topics areas – including marital/family problems, problems with alcohol or drugs, and problems related to anger and violence –clergy felt more prepared to deal with all other issues than MST (except for traumatic brain injury). This finding suggests the importance of additional awareness and training related to factors and issues associated with MST to better prepare clergy.
This issue of The Clergy Connection newsletter addresses the sensitive topic of Military Sexual Trauma and provides insight and information to assist community clergy in helping a Veteran who has bravely broached the subject. Some common characteristics of warriors who have experienced MST are detailed in Did You Know? and this issue’s Research Review presents various patterns of coping with MST. Practical Pastoral Tips details seven helpful points for clergy to keep in mind when working with Veterans and active duty service members who are dealing with MST.
Click the links below to read the full articles:
In case you missed it, the recording of the CCTP webinar “Practical Guidance for Clergy in Teaching Forgiveness of Others and Oneself,” presented by Dr. Everett Worthington, can be viewed online at https://chapvaco.adobeconnect.com/p2jv13qthqc/.
We hope you will find this issue of The Clergy Connection beneficial and that it gives you some knowledge and understanding about MST and how you can make discussing this difficult topic a little bit easier. Again, on behalf of our CCTP Team, I’d like to express my gratitude for the support this program has received. We are excited to continue our service to all those who make a difference in the lives of our Veterans and their families.
A. Keith Ethridge, M.Div., BCC, ACPE
Associate Director, National Chaplain Center
Department of Veterans Affairs