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Dr. Sean St. Jean

Sean has been a clinical social worker and a counsellor in private practice for the past thirteen years. He holds both a bachelors and clinical masters degree in social work from the University of British Columbia, as well as a Ph.D in social work and sociology. His doctoral research explored the effects of early childhood trauma on present-day susceptibility to vicarious trauma and burnout in helping professionals. Sean has worked in child welfare as a child protection worker and then as a family preservation counsellor. He also worked as a mental health case manager with WorkSafeBC, adjudicating occupational mental health claims.

Currently he teaches graduate-level social work and is the Director of MSW field education at King University in Tennessee. In his counselling practice, Sean works with individuals struggling with anxiety and depression, posttraumatic and occupational stress, burnout, and relationship issues using cognitive, psychodynamic, and faith-based approaches.

Sean has been a disciple of Jesus since 1996. He currently contributes to the ICOC Ministers Health Committee and has contracted with HOPE Worldwide to provide counselling support to disciples internationally. Sean and his wife Erin have three children and are members of the Vancouver Church of Christ in Canada.

Addressing Spiritual Trauma: How to Safely Serve Clients Who Share Our Spiritual Heritage

For many years, the discussion of spiritual trauma and abuse was all but forbidden within our family of churches. One of the consequences of this was that many open conversations have been happening outside of our fellowship, largely without our involvement, for better or worse. One challenge is that people "on the outside" have controlled the narrative, which has not always been helpful. This class has two sections. The first section presents a new model for spiritual trauma and abuse (called the ABC's of Spiritual Abuse) that seeks to provide conceptual clarity, room for nuance, and greater treatment utility for therapists wading into these delicate subjects. The second section considers the risks as well as the "spiritual countertransference" challenges that emerge when working with those within our family of churches. Solutions to mitigate the risk of both personal spiritual harm and professional burnout will be explored.

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