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: http://dx.doi.org/10.11630/1550-4891.11.01.50 ∗ Nathaniel A. Carlson can be contacted at nathanielcarlson03@gmail.com. 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