Trauma in Ministry

The demands of the current pandemic world we live in pose a problem for sustaining well-being among ministry leaders and other professionals, as well as laypersons, and care providers alike. Many such care providers have more work than is manageable, and they are experiencing higher-than-average problems with depression, anxiety, and trauma. Compassionate care often leaves one feeling drained from the load. How can ministry leaders and other care providers continue at this pace without losing their vigor or sense of calling?

In the Laureate Conference Center (on the campus of Laureate Psychiatric Hospital) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on February 22, 2024, Bright Tomorrows was pleased to facilitate a seminar-workshop responding to this universal challenge. Our special guest presenter, expert in the field of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma, Dr. Kathy Hoppe, shared that the chief problem is a lack of understanding of how to increase compassion satisfaction in ministry while decreasing susceptibility to burnout and secondary trauma. While many have promoted self-care, these practices do not address empathy-based stress. With busy calendars, ministry leaders, and other care providers, have little time to add enough self-care habits to enhance their growth and maintain the pace demanded for their work. This workshop presentation explored the causes of burnout and secondary trauma, the neurobiology of burnout, secondary trauma, and empathy, and ways of managing the empathic stress load.

Kathy Hoppe, EdD, LMFT, is an assistant professor at Rogers State University. She holds two graduate degrees in theology and psychology, and two doctoral degrees in theology and community care and counseling trauma. She is a diplomate in the American Association of Experts in Traumatic Stress, a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional. She is the author of several books and articles. Her areas of special interest include burnout, secondary stress, and trauma.

Note: If you would like a copy of the handout outline provided to our seminar guests, please contact Tim Reside by way of the Contact Page on this website and let him know.