Trauma, identity, and meaning: SOGIE diversity, mental health, and spiritual care

Prof. dr. Geert Smid1, 2, Dr. Carmen Schumann2, Dr. Joanna Wojtkowiak2, MD Hugo Konz1, BA Jake Smit2, BA Tamam Habib1
1ARQ Centrum'45, Diemen, Netherlands
2University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, Netherlands




Assigned to session

1.06 Jeanne Roos, 29-09-2023, 13:30 - 14:45


History, theory, ethics
Gender, (SOGIE) identity, diversity related
Refugee or war & conflict related traumatic stress
Complex PTSD, comorbidities, grief
Public health, prevention, early interventions


Trauma, identity, and meaning are interconnected and can influence each other in various ways. The interconnections between trauma, identity, and meaning are particularly relevant in the context of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) diversity, due to the unique challenges and experiences faced by individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or any other sexual or gender diverse identity (LGBTQ+). Due to living in a cis-heteronormative society, LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to experience various forms of potentially traumatic experiences. Mental health and spiritual care providers play a crucial role in facilitating recovery from trauma and fostering the development of a positive and affirming identity for LGBTQ+ individuals. During this workshop, five presenters will discuss the following topics:

  • Existential concerns for LGBTQ+ people in their worldview and identity development with reference to Sara Ahmed’s queer phenomenology (2006).
  • What is the specific role that spiritual caregivers can play in gender affirmative care for LGBTQ+ individuals?
  • The role of affirmative rituals in relation to key transitional moments in the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals, e.g., self-realization and identity exploration, coming out, transitioning, finding and building a supportive community, forming relationships and creating a family, etc.
  • The expressed mental health needs of LGBTI refugees, based on qualitative interviews with several patients.
  • Specific challenges LGBTQ+ refugees face, the associated consequences for mental health and key vulnerability and resilience factors, such as internalized homo-/transphobia,  minority stress, self-acceptance, identity concealment, rejection sensitivity, social and  peer support, meaning attribution, and spirituality/religion.


Geert Smid

Carmen Schumann

Joanna Wojtkowiak

Hugo Konz

Jake Smit

Tamam Habib