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For example, anger, rage, and a desire for revenge following trauma may be tempered by forgiveness, spiritual beliefs, or spiritual practices (5).Suggestions have been made about the pathways by which spirituality might affect the recovery trajectory for survivors of traumatic events.The result may be loss of faith, increased guilt and self-blame, and alienation from other people and from God.
Grief and loss can be significant issues that survivors must cope with in the aftermath of trauma.
In US society, spirituality is frequently utilized to cope with traumatic death and loss.
The beliefs and training experiences of practitioners may also influence whether and how spirituality is incorporated into therapy.
Evidence suggests that trauma can produce both positive and negative effects on the spiritual experiences and perceptions of individuals (1).
Many of these individuals would describe religion or spirituality as the most important source of strength and direction for their lives.
Because spirituality plays such a significant and central role in the lives of many people, it is likely to be affected by trauma, and in turn to affect the survivor's reaction to the trauma.
Research suggests that these types of thoughts can be associated with poorer physical and mental health, and increased use of substances.
One study of Veterans being treated for PTSD found that negative religious coping and lack of forgiveness were both associated with worse PTSD and depression symptoms (19).
Historically, there have been differences between the beliefs of scientists and healthcare practitioners and those of the general population.
For example, one study (2) indicated that only 66% of psychologists report a "belief in God." These differences in viewpoint may contribute to the lack of research on spirituality.
For example, depression and loneliness can lead to feelings of abandonment and loss of faith in God.