Community, Spiritual Traditions, and Disasters in Collective Societies

Volume 39
Fall 2011
Community, Spiritual Traditions, and Disasters in Collective Societies

This article posits a deeply contextual and communal therapy as the best path to a victim's reconstruction of a sense of 'home.' The authors take seriously the recent call of Zhang Kan, chairperson of the Chinese Psychological Society, to consider the localities and heritage of China in the construction of psychotherapy for Chinese. The article follows Walsh's four ways by which reconstructed communities are a resource for detoxifying the effects of trauma and disaster: shared acknowledgement of the traumatic events, shared experience of loss and survivorship, reorganization of the community, and reinvestment in relationships. It is argued that spirituality can also play a positive role in the recovery of meaning and community after disaster when honored rather than instrumentalized. Examples will be drawn from the communal/religious reconstructive efforts of Ukrainian Mennonites in communist Russia, the ways in which Chinese responded to the 5.12 earthquake, and the work of the Catholic diocese with Guatemalan indigenous peoples in honoring the dead in rebuilding communities.

Dr. A. Dueck and K. Byron
244 - 254
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