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Nadir/Desolation Experiences
Record Type: Review   ID: 972

Horrific Traumata: A Pastoral Response to the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Sinclair, N. Duncan

Sinclair is a pastoral counselor whose specialty is helping people who have undergone severe trauma. He himself suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from his experiences in Vietnam, which he describes in the book. Traumatic stress is often associated with nadir and desolation experiences. Working through those experiences and potentiating their personal and cosmic meaning can be an EHE and even catapult the experiencer into the EHE process. In the 8th chapter, Sinclair takes a Biblical perspective. He says PTSD is a spiritual disorder, and the first step in his program of healing is "waiting upon the spirit of God, who operates in moments of extremity and perplexity to bring light" (p. xi). Light, in whatever form, usually fits the definition of an exceptional human experience. Throughout Sinclair uses case histories to illustrate his points. He covers the nature of trauma; the results of trauma; delayed trauma, including flashbacks; a spiritual diagnosis of TTSD; multiple personality disorder; the victim and the family; and the treatment process employed in pastoral counseling.

Sinclair notes that the two characteristics of PTSD that are most severe are "death of the spirit" and "fragmentation of the self." The type of therapy Sinclair describes can be seen to overlap considerably with the characteristics of the process of validating and potentiating EHEs: becoming known, telling and being heard, sharing secrets, validating the self, sharing of rage, hope of restoration, and going beyond the group. Key therapeutic techniques, which can be shared by families, involve framing the problem and finding a way to reframe it in a meaningful fashion. "Recovery is linked to channeling God’s power through prayer" (p. xii). This could be a useful guide for therapists who counsel those who have had anomalous experiences, especially those who live within a Christian tradition.

Publisher Information:New York: Haworth, 1993. Pp. ix + 118. Chapnotes; Ind: 117-118
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