Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Dinkins

Second Advisor

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty

Third Advisor

Rev. Dr. Shannon Craigo-Snell


Seminary students have reported feeling underprepared to work with traumatized individuals in pastoral care (Logan, 2017; Resane, 2014). Statistics reported that 82% of pastoral care recipients had a trauma history (Foreman, 2018). Understanding trauma (Herman, 1992) and intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989) were used to consider the varying impacts each can have on an individual. Scholar Fredericks Streets (2015) used the social services understanding of theology and trauma (Beh, 2012; Weems, 1988) trauma informed ministry (Wolf, et al., 2013) to develop trauma informed ministry. This qualitative study using constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2013) explored the experiences of nine participants in learning about trauma, intersectionality, and trauma informed ministry. This study sought to understand how using trauma and intersectionality in tandem answered the following research questions: 1) Do students experience meaningful change in perceived readiness for pastoral care as a result of learning about trauma, intersectionality, and trauma informed ministry?; 2) How do students experience receiving training on trauma, intersectionality, and trauma informed ministry?; 3) What are the affordances and limitations provided to seminary students by learning about trauma and intersectionality?. Eight themes emerged in this study: Actively Engaging Care Receivers Using Trauma Informed Ministry, Connecting to One’s Own Trauma, Trauma and Intersectionality Informed Methods Afford Focus on Individual Needs, Trauma and Identity Experiences of the Care Provider May Limit the Pastoral Care Relationship, Understanding Vulnerability Requires Strength, Teaching Strategies for Healing Rooted in Trauma Informed Ministry, and Identity Embraces Intersectionality and Trauma, and The Role of Intersectionality on Experience.