Dallas International University, Beth Argot

Dallas, Texas

To study the relationship between historical worship practices and arts and trauma healing practices in order to explore the potential for healing and increased wellbeing of worshipers within the context of public worship.

Researcher(s): Beth Argot 
Academic Discipline: World Arts

Project Summary 

To study the relationship between historical worship practices and arts and trauma healing practices to explore the potential of holistic spiritual transformation, healing and increased wellbeing within the context of renewed worship. 

What questions have you asked about worship in the past year?  

Which holistic historical worship practices provided avenue for healing? 

Do holistic worship practices increase the potential for transformation and deeper spiritual relationship? 

How can these practices be contextualized to the contemporary church, both in corporate and personal worship? 

Beyond individual healing and spiritual transformation, how will the worshiping community be impacted by this approach? 

In what ways has or will your project strengthen the worship life of congregations? 

This research has the potential to directly impact the church’s worship by providing means to more transformative worship experience through holistic worship. This holistic worship encourages greater spiritual integration through incorporating right/left brain interaction with God.  

It will also allow opportunity for both increased wellbeing and healing from trauma. This wellbeing and healing should also encourage a greater sense of community within the congregation, as trauma-informed worship would create safety and stronger connections between its members. 

Both of the above concepts have been practiced and observed in smaller group settings but has yet to be practiced within the larger group context. 

What have been your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)? 

Holistic worship involves integrating right brain approaches. In a culture where left-brained thinking has dominated and skepticism and distrust of right-brain approaches are rampant, it has been a challenge to find gentle ways to introduce this necessary part of our spirituality. 

This topic is multidisciplinary and requires a high level of knowledge and research in many fields (neurosciences, psychology/counseling/arts therapies, theology, worship studies, etc.). With the time constrictions of a full-time job and the level of research necessary within each of these fields, time to consistently research, write, and collaborate with specialists in each of the disciplines has been a challenge. 

What advice would you like to share with other Teacher-Scholars? 

Research, by nature, involves learning. Don’t hesitate to adjust and make changes as you discover deeper levels of your topic.  

Be aware of personal biases. Our greatest biases are generally not seen by ourselves so having other qualified readers/collaborators is essential to good research. 

What products will emerge from your project? 

I am currently writing a book, "Healing in His Wings: Addressing Trauma through the Arts in Worship," slated to be completed and published with Cascade Books by June 2023. This book will serve as the academic and theological foundations for this topic, providing the argument of trauma as a problem for the church to address.  

A second book is planned to focus on practical worship ideas for use in private or smaller group worship.  

Worship exercises, called "Arts with God," have been created and introduced in the Arts and Trauma Healing courses, workshops, and other venues. These will serve as fodder for my second book.  

Several papers have already been presented at conferences. I am planning on editing and publishing these papers at the close of the grant period. Presentations and articles will continue as opportunities come along.