Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Kenneth G. Warren


Adverse Childhood Experiences, Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Early Life Stress, ACEs


Counseling | Psychology


Dr. Vincent Filetti's landmark 1998 study exposed the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on children and adults. His analysis determined that childhood traumatic experiences could strongly correlate to serious health issues in adults. Exposure to childhood adversity has been shown to correlate not only with mental health issues such as depression, suicide, and substance abuse but also with chronic, life-threatening health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and immune system issues. This DMin study aims to address the impact of ACEs on adult clients of the pastoral counseling ministry of Victory Church, a large non-denominational Christian church located in Middlefield, Connecticut. To adequately address client needs related to the impact of ACEs, the pastoral counseling team of Victory Church must be adequately trained. This DMin action research project will result in the development of a pastoral counseling training module that explicitly targets client ACE issues identified in the counseling process. Training will be provided to raise the pastoral counseling team’s level of understanding and counseling ability related to ACEs. A secondary purpose of this project is to examine the pastoral counseling process that incorporates the training that will be conducted as a result of the primary objective. The pastoral counseling process will be reviewed to determine its strengths and opportunities for improvement to assist the counselors in identifying critical risk and protective factors so they may work toward the prevention of future ACEs and improved outcomes for counseling clients.