Trauma in the Eyes of Different Cultures

February 28, 2019, 10h00

Centro de Informação Urbana de Lisboa - CIUL


Religious inscription in several areas of knowledge is undeniable. In the history of medicine the scientific and the spiritual mingle - the origin of the disease, the explanation of symptoms and medical practice were based on both empirical tradition and spiritual beliefs; in law, religion influenced the current model of laws and sentences and in some countries religious writings are still a tool for social organisation. As such, religions participate in scientific, political and cultural development.

Well-known names in philosophy and psychology, such as Thomas Hobbes, Michael Foucault, and Sigmund Freud have devoted part of their careers to understanding religious belief and its repercussions on human behaviour and suffering. The concept of sin and the fear of punishment were seen as necessary to maintain social order. However, we know that such concepts provoke "moral suffering" and can lead to feelings of guilt. Considering the role of religions in the representations that individuals make about their desires, thoughts, and also their reactions to adversities, we question the influence of religious culture on the establishment of psychological trauma. After a traumatic experience, if their history is marked by the presence of religion, or their family and community are organised through religious teaching, the representations they will make of the traumatic event may be affected by discourses that intensify the emotional and symptomatic effects. Or, on the other hand, religion can be the means of coping with trauma and is often a very effective coping strategy.

Discussions about religions place us more doubts than certainties, and perhaps that is why we once again set ourselves the challenge of addressing such a controversial but interesting subject. Does the present colloquium intend to bring to the discussion different views on the way that religions elaborate suffering after a traumatic event, would it be a secondary stressor or a positive coping strategy? And what implications can we elaborate for the prevention of psychological trauma and its mitigation in a clinical context?

Free, but mandatory registration.

Organisers: Trauma Centre  of the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra