Investigator: Jenny Pak, PhD
In a rapidly changing world and globalization, culturally competent therapy and psychological research demand deeper understanding of the particulars of context (e.g., culture, history, language, and religion) that shape individual and collective identity. As our stories are linked to others—especially early attachments, family, and larger society—personal and dominant cultural narratives are analyzed to examine how individuals and communities respond and interpret the meaning of traumatic events. The role of religion and spirituality in the trauma recovery process are also studied since the personal search for meaning and ultimate purpose fills a basic human need and provides the necessary strength to endure and overcome suffering, pain, and loss. Current projects include critical analyses of the literature, relational and sexual assault, societal trauma of racism, physical injury and disability, aging, cancer, and post-traumatic growth, pastor/missionary self-care, and third-culture kids.