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DMin Student Bridges Spiritual Formation with Trauma Healing


Doctor of Ministry (DMin) student Rev. Tawanda Kay Wallace is making significant strides in the field of trauma healing and spiritual care. With a background in chaplaincy and a deep commitment to addressing trauma within faith communities, Rev. Wallace’s research aims to shed light on the intersection of spirituality, trauma, and healing. She is currently finishing her dissertation and Project in Ministry, which makes her on track to complete her degree program with a projected graduation of May 2024.

Informed by her current roles as a Trauma NICU/Adult ED Staff Chaplain at Ascension St. Vincent and an ordained minister, Wallace’s doctoral dissertation focuses on exploring how a person’s spiritual development shapes their response to emergency medical trauma in the context of hospital chaplaincy. She believes her pursuit of the Doctor of Ministry degree is a way to responsibly honor her calling and those she serves. “My working knowledge as a clinical board-certified chaplain specializing in Trauma-Informed Care allows me to share how theological and theoretical interventions can be applied for positive healing outcomes and spiritual formation. I have a continuous obligation in my chaplain profession and my ecclesiastical call to ministry to teach the masses by continuing my education, participating in research surveys, and conducting research studies that serve as the foundation for God’s call for my life for good leadership,” she says.

Wallace is particularly interested in understanding the roles of spirituality and psychosocial factors in trauma, as well as the effects of trauma and responses to trauma on individuals’ recovery and healing. Her research is not limited to clinical applications; she also pays close attention to practical application in the ways faith communities can amplify healing.

Rev. Tawanda Kay Wallace headshotRev. Wallace’s research is driven by a desire to bring awareness and education to churches and faith organizations about trauma, trauma theology, and trauma-informed care. Drawing from her experience as CEO and founder of Trauma Healing and Hope Ministry (THHM) LLC and as an ordained minister at Mt. Carmel Church in Indianapolis, she seeks to integrate spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines, and biblical truth into trauma healing practices.

“My research aims to bring awareness to Christians, clergy, church leadership, and church organizations that a person’s spirituality and psychosocial factors play a significant and essential role in trauma, as well as the effects of trauma, reactions, and responses to trauma, and the outcome to recovery and healing. Particularly in African American contexts, we often talk about grief in churches but do not address trauma extensively. My goal is to take my research and bring awareness to churches on trauma and trauma-informed care by integrating spiritual formation and biblical principles,” she explains.

Wallace emphasizes the importance of integrating theological and theoretical interventions for positive healing outcomes and spiritual formation. Her unique blend of clinical expertise as a board-certified chaplain specializing in Trauma-Informed Care, coupled with her ecclesiastical call to ministry, positions her as a transformative leader in the field of trauma healing within faith communities.

“I believe Spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines, and biblical truth and concept are ultimately the sources for healing and hope in God according to Christian beliefs and faith.  Biblical concepts and principles intersect in everyday living and human nature. God is a God of resources, and it is God Who provides us with academic study and evidence-based research for theoretical concepts. There is a way we can connect the two to help facilitate healing.”

Reflecting on her experience as a student at CTS, Rev. Wallace describes it as “intense, exciting, challenging, and super amazing.” Despite starting her DMin program during the height of COVID-19 and the challenges the pandemic posed for higher education, she found a welcoming and supportive community at CTS, where she felt empowered to explore new avenues of research and scholarship. She shares, “My courses were all virtual, and even in that virtual space, there was a celebration of dignity, an inviting presence of acceptance. I felt comfortable and courageous in finding another energy level in my Voice. My experience as a student at CTS has been most meaningful. I have an outstanding faculty that supports my academic endeavors, and I love that there is always something to do at CTS that keeps you actively engaged in the community and church life. CTS truly lives out its mission statement, preparing transformative leaders!”

As Wallace completes her doctoral journey at CTS, her commitment to integrating spiritual formation with trauma healing remains steadfast and holds great promise for immediate community impact. Her research serves as a beacon of hope for individuals and communities seeking healing and restoration in the face of trauma.

The Doctor of Ministry degree program is part of the School of Theology at Christian Theological Seminary.