Listener Questions: Trauma and Relationships

In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen continue to address themes and topics related to listener questions. Today, Dan and Rachael take on the question: How do I engage the relational debris of trauma? Whether you are on a healing journey yourself or are supporting a spouse, family, or friends, they talk about how you can engage both the beauty and brokenness of stories of harm when you are not sure either how to receive or be a good support. Throughout their conversation, you’ll also hear Rachael and Dan address the obstacles to and cost of healing from trauma and how to love well in the midst of trauma.


“In counting the cost, you have to address what’s happening today in order to move forward, not just what went on in the past.” Dr. Dan Allender

“There’s often a feeling of, “I felt better before I entered this healing process than I do now, and I want to be well.” I think that some of the hardship is letting some of the things that needed to come out. And it is hard to find friends sometimes who have the capacity […] to make a gracious space to be unwell. Not to leave you there, but to hold hope for you.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“When unity is more important than truth, what tends to happen is you have to commit yourself to compromise. You have to give up not only your uniqueness but your own story in order to fit in the larger whole, whether we’re talking individually, familially, culturally. When unity is built on the fabric of a lie, you can be assured that will not hold.” Dr. Dan Allender

“Where contempt is present, it is functional. It is an effective work of evil, it’s an effective work of other people, and it becomes effective in our own lives. So, there has to be a deep commitment to contend with contempt.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“Oftentimes when we ask for help, the fact is we have a prospect of being shamed and judged for not forgiving, for not trusting God, for not being able to move on. Often those people are so uncomfortable with their own story and desire so deeply to be of help. And, at some level, their intent is to do you well. But here’s an important point: The fact that people’s intention is not evil does not change the reality that the harm is horrible.” Dr. Dan Allender

“There has to be a sense of counting some of the cost of leaning into healing from trauma and there has to be wisdom in knowing who has the privilege of being on that journey with you.” Rachael Clinton Chen