Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 51

VOLUME 11 NUMBER 1 2015 LAMENT: THE BIBLICAL LANGUAGE OF TRAUMA Nathaniel A. Carlson∗ Traumatic Experience: A Pervasive Reality Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. —Job 5:71 Eliphaz the Temanite earned a divine rebuke for speaking foolish words in the wake of Job’s grand-scale tragedy and complex trauma. But within the Temanite’s litany of blame and judgment, there is a grain of sobering truth— humanity is born to trouble. According to Jamie D. Aten and Donald F. Walker, “about half of all people will experience . . . some form of trauma over the course of their lifespan.”2 If trauma’s definition is limited to “exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence” (following the DSM-5),3 then Aten and Walker may be correct. But there is mounting evidence that traumatic experience extends beyond the DSM-5’s description. John Briere and Catherine Scott argue that the DSM-5 “undoubtedly underestimates the extent of actual trauma in the general population” by failing to consider threats to psychological integrity as traumatic (e.g., emotional abuse, degradation/humiliation, major loss/separation, sexual coercion).4 Christine A. Courtois and Julian D. Ford DOI: ∗ Nathaniel A. Carlson can be contacted at 1. All Scripture quotations in this essay are taken from the New International Version (1984). 2. Jamie D. Aten and Donald F. Walker, “Religion, Spirituality, and Trauma: An Introduction,” Journal of Psychology & Theology 40, no. 4 (2012): 255. 3. American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5 (Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2013), 830. 4. John Briere and Catherine Scott, Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptoms, Evaluation, and Treatment, 2nd ed., DSM-5 Update (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2014), 9–10. The 1987 DSM-III-R was the last revision to consider threats to psychological integrity as traumatic. 50