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Healing can come: TMS Global cross-cultural witnesses are working to reverse the damage of trauma


Beneath the things that are observable on the outside, like actions, there’s a lot that we can’t see, like a person’s history and experiences. Understanding those things that are beneath the surface can help us care for people in a more holistic and healthy way.  

TMS Global cross-cultural witness (CCW) Joy Price* is passionate about helping people understand what’s beneath the surface. She serves in the Middle East and is certified through Trauma Free World. She recently led a trauma competent care** workshop in Europe. The goal was to help global workers and care professionals navigate behavioral and emotional challenges they see in people who have lived through difficult experiences.

Price says it’s important for people to understand what’s happening to a person’s brain and body when they go through serious situations.  

“People’s brains are actually being rewired because of the trauma that they’re going through,” Price says.  

She notes that all behavior is a way of communicating something. And when someone goes through severe trauma, they are communicating out of fear, not logic.  

“I can’t tell you how many times in the workshop participants would say, ‘oh my gosh, that’s why so and so is acting like that,’” Price says. “It’s because they’re afraid, or because they’ve starved. So there’s this hoarding tendency that happens, and other different behavioral tendencies that happen because people have been in scary situations.”

Though the brain can be rewired because of trauma, the brain also has the capacity to heal.  

“God created us so amazingly,” Price says. “Our brains have neuroplasticity…the ability to change and to make new connections. So you don't have to stay stuck in these behavior patterns of trauma. And that's really encouraging to me.”  

Price initially became interested in trauma competent care when Syrian refugees were arriving in her community, and she didn’t know what to do.  

“My biggest fear was actually hurting more than I was helping,” Price says. “One of the turning point pieces for me was understanding okay, this is what's wrong with me as I've been working with people who come from hard places. Now I understand what my people are going through and can recognize, for example, that they lied to me because of a certain reason, not because they're bad people, but because they just don't have enough resources.”

Price suggests that everyone who wants to serve people who have experienced hard things should seek out training.  

“I think sometimes when you understand what’s happening in front of you, it gives you more power to help in that situation,” Price says.  

Price wants people to walk away from training sessions with more knowledge. She also wants people to have practical tools to help people move from using the part of their brain that responds in fear, to the part of their brain associated with logic. She teaches participants breathing techniques and calming activities they can use, as well as how to create safe spaces and nurture groups where people can meet together and heal in community. She also wants workers to understand the importance of self-care.  

“There's an element of almost entering in so deeply with empathy and compassion that we begin to take people's pain on as our own,” Price says. “Secondary PTSD is a very real problem. Compassion fatigue happens a lot, as well as burnout and exhaustion. There are so many needs beyond what we can do. So self-care is a key thing.”  

Price says she and her team want to see people walk in healing and wholeness.  

“So we create safe spaces where people encounter the goodness of God, so that they can experience that healing and wholeness,” she says.  


*Pseudonym is used for security reasons.  

** Trauma competent care equips helpers so that they can competently and compassionately care for people who have experienced trauma, loss, abuse, and neglect.