Professor to address SC chaplains on “Secondary Traumatization”

March 08, 2019

Can chaplains be traumatized by counseling those going through trauma? Dr. Michael Langston, Columbia International University professor of Chaplain Ministries, says yes. As a matter of fact, the subject is so important that the South Carolina Society of Chaplains are having him speak on the topic at their spring meeting.

“Secondary Traumatization, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout as it relates to Chaplaincy” is the title of Langston’s presentation on March 29.  

Langston says secondary traumatization is experienced by chaplains, counselors, and clergy who are exposed to trauma in a secondary way in the performance of their ministries.

“Most chaplains, counselors, and clergy are trained in the pastoral care techniques of caring, comforting and serving those experiencing traumatic events,” Langston said. “As a result of their caring, sometimes they are traumatized in a secondary way.”

Some specifics that Langston will address include a crisis of faith, moral injury, post-traumatic stress injury/disorder, vicarious traumatization, and complicated grief.

Langston says his goal “is to impart updated knowledge, skills, and abilities in providing a basic understanding of how to recognize secondary trauma in caring professionals as they work with trauma survivors.”

With over 30 years of experience, Langston has served as a chaplain in the areas of healthcare, law enforcement, and in the military as a U.S. Navy chaplain. His ministry has taken him around the world to several nations including Afghanistan, Germany, Honduras, Iceland, Iraq, Japan, Korea and Kuwait. He says that being a chaplain has given him the opportunity to “walk with people through the most difficult times and crisis of their lives,” as “a bearer of the presence of God.” 

Information on the SC Society of Chaplains and their spring meeting is on the website of the South Carolina Hospital Association.

Learn from Dr. Michael Langston and other experienced chaplaincy professionals with a CIU Master of Arts in Chaplaincy.

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