“Reverend Yoo’s Golden Rule moment” published

Reverend Yoo’s Golden Rule moment

Albert Celoza

Special to The Republic

I am at my desk, writing a blog. I am asking myself, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and ‘What happened to you?’ Laughter … Well, by training, I should only ask the second question. However, for the last several months, I tried to answer another question, ‘What’s right for you?’ convincing myself to do more self-care, reflection and self-regulation. Whisper to me … ‘Good job!’ Smile … then, breathe deeply.

These are the words of Sanghoon to himself during his Golden Rule moment realizing his personal need for care and healing. Pulling from his personal experiences he will also share his compassion toward others so that they may also be healed as well. Reverend Sanghoon Yoo is a ‘wounded healer,’ a term from the eminent Carl Jung to refer to psychologists impelled to treat the personal wounds they see in others.

In the course of one’s life one is dealt traumatic experiences that leave marks that can continue to fester after impact. It is not only physical but also psychological traumas caused by injuries resulting from violence, abuse, natural disasters, serious accidents and illnesses. These traumas can make one more vulnerable to developing mental health problems. It can also cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which has led people to abuse of alcohol, drugs and other addictive substances, or has led one to self-harm. Depending on how you’re affected, trauma may cause difficulties in your daily life. These traumatic events have caused mental illnesses manifested through intrusive thoughts, like nightmares and flashbacks; behavioral challenges like insomnia, reckless or self-destructive behavior, rage, depression, irritability, persistent negative ruminations, paranoia and other cognitive disturbances.

These challenges require counseling and treatment, but the added burden is the stigma attached to the psychological origins of these difficulties. Reverend Sanghoon Yoo founded Arizona Trauma Informed Faith Coalition (AZTIFC) in collaboration with the Arizona ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Consortium. This organization combines trauma-informed care, mindfulness, social-emotional learning, community resilience and spiritual direction. He also offers trauma-informed care training and trauma-informed organizational and systematic cultural change consultation to various social sectors such as school districts, public health, mental health, and the foster care system. In combining science and spirituality, Dr. Yoo works with Maricopa County Public Health to develop connectivity and to train faith leaders to create a safe space for those with mental trauma and substance use and assist in suicide and substance abuse prevention.

Building a safe space and secure and loving relationships are some of the most critical foundations in trauma-informed systemic change and cultural transformation. Brain science teaches us that the sense of belonging facilitates perceptual and emotional safety, which then nurtures regulation and resilience. This training aims to prevent unhealthy coping behaviors such as substance use but builds a safe, healthy and resilient organizational culture. Many years ago, a church member told him, ‘Pastor Yoo, you are a weaver.’

In God’s grace, the people of his community have been woven from all diversities in the world. Reverend Dr. Sanhoon Yoo has created communities of belonging pulling together trauma-informed healing through the experience of unconditional love, constant care, and the secure feeling of belonging.

Reverend Sanghoon Yoo, founder of the Arizona Trauma Informed Faith Coalition next to Albert Celoza, executive director of the Arizona Interfaith Movement. Albert Celoza

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