Still Harbor's Colleen Sharka interviewed on "Better Living with Liz Walker"

Still Harbor is honored to be working with Reverend Liz Walker and Roxbury Presbyterian Church’s Social Impact Center on a pilot program to address healing from grief and trauma at a community-based level.

On September 30, 2014, Better Living with Liz Walker aired  a special on understanding trauma in the city of Boston on WCVB Channel 5 Boston. Still Harbor’s Colleen Sharka was interviewed and speaks about the important collaboration. Watch here:

In addition to this project, Still Harbor works on helping individuals and organizations heal the spiritual wounds of trauma in many ways. Over the years, we have witnessed time and again the ways that trauma in all its forms—from traumatic events like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti or the Boston Marathon Bombing to insidious trauma like racism, daily violence, and structural oppression—impacts the spiritual lives of people.

Trauma exposure primarily impacts a person’s sense of safety, connection, and wholeness. As such, re-orienting in meaningful and authentic ways to these three core areas of life following trauma exposure become key to transforming trauma for healing and recovery.

A spiritual approach to healing following trauma pays attention to:

  1. Creating safe space for people to be wholly present.
  2.  Inviting people into deep listening and sharing.
  3. Cultivating healthy connections and relationships with self, others, and the sacred.

The Our Voices, Our Stories events at Roxbury Presbyterian Church are designed in collaboration with Still Harbor’s Colleen Sharka, LMHC and Rev. Perry Dougherty based on this spiritual approach to trauma healing. Read about the first event held on September 11.

Sacred spaceset by a gathering that engages the mind, body, spiritallows for a reorientation to the possibility of safety, if even for just a moment. The practices of deep listening and sharing, mind-body awareness, and community engagement together allow individuals to take steps to build back up their sense of connection, relationship, and wholeness.

Still Harbor’s work is training the eight community companions to support their neighbors at the Our Voices, Our Stories events as well as in the weeks and months that follow. The companions are trained to know the basics of trauma, to listen deeply and supportively, and to offer a safe place for their neighbors to grieve a loss or share a story.

It is our sincere hope and belief that, through such companionship, individuals in need of a listening ear and of community connections will find them, thereby taking a step or two towards healing. Read more about the partnership and how the program is designed.

All of this work is unfolding with reverence for and understanding that the wounds of trauma are often many and can be complex. Our spiritual approach does not ignore or replace other valuable and necessary psycho-social interventions. Approaching trauma using a spiritual storytelling format requires careful attention to mental health referral as well as connection to additional resources.

If you find yourself needing to talk, Our Voices, Our Stories events are currently scheduled for October 16 at 6 PM and November 13 at 6 PM.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Rev. Perry Dougherty at perry [at] stillharbor [dot] org.