Healing the Heart: Trauma Training
It is CURE’s desire that every patient who comes in contact with us goes home transformed physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Patients enter CURE hospitals with disabilities that have visible scars as well as scars that you can’t see. For patients to fully heal, we need to address their emotional scars. Through trauma training, we equip our entire staff with the tools to help patients heal their emotional scars. “When a staff member is talking to a patient about their sickness, they shouldn’t just see the leg with a disability, for instance, they should see the heart,” says Earnest Kioko CURE’s Senior Director of Spiritual Ministry.
Trauma training equips CURE staff to address the social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our patients. It addresses the wounds of the heart which can be just as damaging as physical wounds.
At CURE Zambia, Conrad Subulwa, a physical therapy tech, used techniques from trauma training to help bring a family together and ease their pain. “A mother brought her child who has cerebral palsy. She was accompanied by her sister. They believed that their mother was responsible for the child’s disability. They never wanted to take the child to the hospital because of this belief. I calmly talked to them until they opened up, and I explained the condition and encouraged them using the steps we learned. Despite the fact that there is little that can be done medically to improve the child’s condition, I could see signs of relief on their faces and they were happy that they came to the hospital. If I hadn’t undergone the trauma training, I wouldn’t have known how to approach this situation.”
Trauma training helps CURE staff understand that emotional healing is a process rather than a single event. The training aims to help people see the character of God amidst pain. It’s a challenging lesson to take our pain to the cross rather than just rely on other people.
“This training has helped me to realize that patients and caregivers come not only with their physical disabilities but also with their inner trauma from society and their family members. I am able to interact with the patients I come in contact with by helping them understand that God cares about them despite what they are going through and help them identify wounds in their heart and take them to Jesus. I also am able to help coworkers in the same way,” says Mwaluwo Malembeka, a CURE Zambia nurse.
The benefits of the trauma training go beyond the confines of the hospital, but also extend to family members and members of the community. Having a child with a disability is traumatic, and we need to show them the love and acceptance of God. Pastor Lubasi, part of the spiritual staff, shares an account of an interaction he had with a patient. “I am reminded of a teenage girl, Mwiche, who came with bilateral bowed legs. She was upset with everyone and her heart was filled with anger and shame for several years because of her condition. During her stay with us, she began to heal emotionally through the trauma counseling I had with her. She can now freely talk about her past, and she is expectant of a better future.”
Trauma Training is an ongoing initiative implemented at CURE hospitals to engage the staff in the spiritual and emotional aspects of a patient’s healing. As a result, we should have staff and patients who are willing to share their struggles, share the love of God, and share joy knowing that they are loved just as they are.
Earnest Kioko, CURE International’s Senior Spiritual Director, summarized the need for trauma training up nicely when he said, “Every patient who comes to us, we see with five main problems, they are physically challenged, socially discriminated against, emotionally stressed, spiritually confused, and financially constrained. We want them to leave CURE physically healed, socially accepted, emotionally at peace, spiritually clarified, and financially empowered.”
Please note that all photos were taken prior to COVID-19 social distancing and PPE protocols.