Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 66

LAMENT - Carlson and resolving their injuries in the context of family, friendship, and other relationships.67 Herman emphatically agrees that social support is essential—“It cannot be reiterated too often: no one can face trauma alone.”68 Tracy virtually makes the same claim, but rightly nuances it from his Evangelical perspective: “The power of human relationships to heal is an expressly biblical concept.”69 When considering the relational context of traumatic testimonies, Herman calls for safety as a fundamental first requirement.70 Though writing from a pastoral perspective, Peterson’s thoughtful insights on lament and safe social support deserve to be quoted at length, not only here, but also in the published manuals of trauma therapy. When others join the sufferer, there is “consensual validation” that the suffering means something. The community votes with its tears that there is something worth weeping over. Further, community participation insures a human environment. The threat of dehumanization to which all pain exposes us—of being reduced to the level of “the beasts that perish”—is countered by the presence of other persons whose humanity is unmistakable. . . . Again, when the community joins in the lament, sanction is given for the expression of the loss—the outpouring of emotion is legitimized in such a way as to provide for catharsis and then renewal.71 The lament psalms themselves have made a simple but profound case for social support in the expression of traumatic experience—by superscripting individual laments with cues for corporate recitation. Similarly, Allen calls the book of Lamentations “a liturgy intended as a therapeutic ritual,”72 moving hurting individuals toward the socially supportive context of communal lament. 67. Briere and Scott, Principles of Trauma Therapy, 231. 68. H erman, Trauma and Recovery, 155. 69. Tracy, Mending the Soul, 125. 70. Herman, Trauma and Recovery, 3. 71. Peterson, Five Smooth Stones, 145. 72. Allen, Liturgy of Grief, 8. 65