The University of Scranton’s Task Force on Healing, Reconciliation and Hope will host a presentation titled “Clergy Sexual Abuse and Betrayal Trauma: Facing the Harm and Facilitating Healing” by Christine A. Courtois, Ph.D., a board-certified counseling psychologist and specialist in the treatment of adults who have suffered childhood sexual trauma. She will be joined by David Nolan, director of New Beginnings Ministry at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, who serves as a peer counselor to survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their families. Their presentation, which is open to the public, free of charge, will be held Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Kane Forum of Leahy Hall.

Through campus surveys and feedback forums conducted in the fall semester, the “effects of sexual trauma on survivors” was identified as one of the topics that would be addressed by the Task Force.

The presentation by Dr. Courtois is intended to help those in attendance to identify dynamics of clergy abuse that compound trauma and to understand the key aspects of the complex trauma response specifically concerning the capacity for trust, attachment, intimacy and spirituality.

Dr. Courtois is the author and co-editor of several books on trauma-related topics. including “Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders: Scientific Foundations and Therapeutic Models” (Guilford, 2013). She was chair of the recently released Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of PTSD in Adults for the American Psychological Association (APA) and for guidelines on the treatment of complex trauma for several professional organizations. Recently retired from private practice and now serving as a consultant and trainer on topics on trauma psychology and treatment, Dr.  Courtois co-founded and previously served as clinical and training director of The CENTER: Posttraumatic Disorders Program, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Courtois is past president of APA Division 56 (trauma psychology) and past founding associate editor of the Division’s journal, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Her awards include the APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Professional Practice and the American Board of Professional Psychology 2016 Distinguished Service Award to the Profession of Psychology.

Convened in October of 2018, the Task Force on Healing, Reconciliation and Hope was established by University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., and is supported by endowed funds approved by the University’s Board of Trustees. The Task Force is co-chaired by Patricia Tetreault, vice president for human resources, and Christian Krokus, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Theology and Religious Studies Department.

For additional information, visit the Task Force’s website or email hrhtaskforce@scranton.edu.