My name is Taylor Mache, and I am thrilled to be interning at ICTG. I am currently a third year psychology major at Westmont College who is also studying Spanish and global studies. I have always had a passion for deep relationships and understanding our creation as relational beings, which eventually sparked my interest in psychology. I wanted to better understand the ways we interact with others, digging into the why and how we behave and think the way we do. As I processed my own relationships, I paused on my relationship with my dad. My dad and I have always had a very natural connection, one where there was a mutual trust and understanding that couldn’t exactly be explained. I have always admired my father for the ways he intentionally strived to have deeper relationships with my brothers and me, especially without having an example of a good earthly father himself. As a Christian, I see how he shaped the way I understood the love of our Heavenly Father which is infinite and whole, in that if my earthly father pursued me and loved me this much, then how much more my Heavenly Father must love and pursue me. It broke my heart to think that children can go without having an earthly example of unconditional love in their lives. Out of this experience my desire to be a marriage and family therapist was born. I hope, ultimately, to gain skills to facilitate environments where couples can learn how to mend bonds where they are strained or broken, or create bonds where they do not currently exist.
Trauma often can disrupt, or even break, relational bonds. I am curious to explore how these experiences affect the ways survivors of trauma interact with those they love, and discover more about how collective trauma can bring people together or create even more distance. I am particularly interested in how our faith and spirituality influence trauma recovery, and how spiritual guidance can be integrated into treatment processes. The focus of my research this semester will involve developing more extensive resources in spiritual formation counseling, specifically in providing tools and tips for college students interested in pursuing work in spiritual guidance with persons affected by trauma and disaster. Through research of various sources, including current ICTG materials, peer-reviewed literature, and biblical sources, as well as interviews of spiritual directors, I will curate current understandings of trauma-informed spiritual direction and young adult development in order to devise a tip sheet for college students to access online.
I am interested in exploring the ways religion and culture intertwine and overlap to influence trauma response. I hope to integrate trauma-informed spiritual formation and direction resources into my final project that are culturally aware and appropriate for Christian college students. The ways we interact with others and form connections depends largely on our cultural context, including our spiritual background. College students, developmentally, may find themselves naturally at a stage of testing and reconsidering their cultural and spiritual backgrounds, perhaps for the first time. If they happen to encounter traumatic experiences, or are reflecting on traumatic experiences from the past, a spiritual director who is informed on how trauma can affect a person’s development and spiritual formation will provide more helpful facilitation. A person’s responses to trauma can vary greatly based on her or his culturally-influenced spiritual experiences. Therefore, caring for a survivor impacted by trauma, particularly when providing spiritual direction for them, requires a deep understanding of these differences, in order to help in ways that respect and honor the individual, rather than in the ways that hinder healing and restoration. Having awareness of varying cultures, the range of spiritual practices and understandings a survivor may have, and implicit biases on the part of the spiritual director can greatly enhance the way treatment is administered. I am looking forward to exploring these important points in the coming weeks and developing helpful tips for working with college students who have experienced trauma.
Taylor is a third year student at Westmont College studying psychology, Spanish, and global studies. She is passionate about our creation as relational beings and learning about how trauma can affect relationships, especially in different cultural experiences. She is also interested in the role that faith plays in recovery and understanding trauma and disaster. A Chicago native, she loves spending as much time as she can in nature and tuning in to the wonders of creation, whether hiking in the mountains or going for an ocean swim.
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