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Travis Research Institute

Headington Lab
Headington Lab
The Headington Research Lab

The Headington Research Lab

Cynthia Eriksson, Ph.D


Psychology Building 273
Fuller Theological Seminary
180 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101





The Headington Program was established by the Headington family of Dallas, Texas. Their generous endowment supports research and consultation directed to the needs of cross-cultural ministry and humanitarian aid workers. Particularly central to the mission of the Headington Program are the topics of traumatic and chronic stress occurring in cross-cultural ministry settings, as well as the resulting challenges to caregiver adjustment.


Inclusion and Diversity in Member Care

Much of the research on missionary care and “Member Care” has focused on the experience of North American or European missionaries moving to settings in the Global East and South. This perspective may limit the resources needed to understand the nuanced experience of mission workers from varying cultural locations. Our next projects will consider diverse voices to explore the impact of cultural identity, humility, historical trauma, justice, and racial trauma on the experiences of secondary trauma and ministry worker well-being. Projects include:

  • Literature review on adjustment of those working in activism. How does justice-related work affect activists of different backgrounds? (Jamie Camphouse)


Trauma Informed Ministry

SAMSHA (2014) introduced the construct of “Trauma-Informed Care” as a way to influence service provision across sectors. Ministry leaders can create trauma-informed ministry by understanding the common reactions to trauma, the need for survivor empowerment, the impact of historical and cultural factors, and the primary need for safety. The lab has worked on projects related to this in a number of areas:

  • Literature review of trauma-informed care and qualitative analysis of ministry workers’ report of support of survivors in their ministry settings. (Kacey Krotz)
  • Investigations into formations of people’s theodicies. Childhood maltreatment as well as denominational beliefs have a specific impact on how people interpret and understand the role of suffering in the world. (Julie Rommen and Robert Craig)
  • Trauma informed ministry in context. Looking at what the literature says about how the Black Church can respond to community violence. (Sarah Hill)


Risk and Resiliency in Ministry Workers

Aid workers, mission workers, and urban ministry workers have chosen to work in environments that include both chronic and potentially traumatic stressors. By the very nature of the work, they are confronted with suffering, but they work to improve the lives of others. These research projects seek to identify the ways that certain personal, organizational, and contextual factors may contribute to better or poorer outcomes. Projects include:

  • Longitudinal study examining various factors of organizational stress and resilience across an aid worker’s time of deployment (Melissa Beth Huston).
  • Investigation into urban ministry workers’ attitudes and psychological adjustments (Robert Craig).
  • An outcome evaluation of a resilience retreat in Spain for missionaries working in various contexts for their own self-care and development. (Morgan Sorenson)


International Trauma

Trauma may be a common experience, but each cultural context has its own unique resources and risks for survivors. Research projects can inform local efforts for resilience and recovery through partnerships with local agencies to provide nuanced understanding of the specific experiences of survivors in the area. Projects include:

  • Looking at the specific impact of terrorism on internationally displaced persons as well as the unique expression of cultural trauma and grief in Jos, Nigeria. (Patience Ahmed and Drea Canales)
  • Asking the question of “what does wellbeing look like?” within the unique context of working with former child soldiers and ministry leaders in Northern Uganda (Quincee Gideon and Nikki Frederick)



Cynthia Eriksson

Cynthia Eriksson




Hannah Lankheet

Hannah Lankheet

Hannah is a student in the PsyD program at Fuller. Hannah’s current research interests are related to the traumatic experiences of human trafficking survivors and the spiritual factors that may contribute to resiliency.

Jamie Camphouse

Jamie Camphouse

Jamie is in the PsyD program at Fuller. Her current research focuses on the way in which chronic suffering and injustice affect those within the role of activist. Jamie is also interested in research that seeks to continue understanding childhood adverse experiences and how they intersect with faith and resiliency.

Gianna Kozen

Gianna Kozel

Gianna is pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology. She's interested in researching the impact of trauma in various settings and populations. Gianna is particularly attentive to the concepts of vicarious trauma, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress.

Anna Noll

Anna Noll

Anna is in the PsyD program at Fuller. She is interested in the effects of vicarious trauma on international aid workers and first responders. Her research interests also involve psychological trauma and adjustment in refugees and at-risk youth.

Robert Craig

Robert Craig

Robert is pursuing his PhD in clinical psychology. His research/clinical interests involve trauma, forensics, and social justice issues, specifically related to creating psychologically informed policy decisions.

Bethany Ferguson

Bethany Ferguson

Bethany Ferguson is pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology. She is interested in researching trauma, resilience, and mental health stigma within East African settings.

Julie Rommen

Julie Rommen

Julie is pursuing her PhD in clinical psychology. Julie is involved in research that focuses primarily on how ministry workers (pastors, missionaries, etc.) experience and respond to trauma in their ministry contexts. This includes both how they conceptualize and understand trauma as well as how they have been impacted by their work of responding to trauma.

Andrea Canales
Patience Ahmed
Susannah Robb Kondrath
Melissa Beth Huston
Kacey Krotz



Ahmed, P. M., Canales, A. K., Rommen, J. E., Kozell, G. E., Craig, R. A., & Eriksson, C. (2018, November). Impact of terror on internally displaced persons in Nigeria. Poster presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Chicago, IL.

Robb Kondrath, S., Craig, R. A., Rommen, J., Krotz, K., & Eriksson, C. (2018, August). Trauma-informed ministry: Professional quality of life among clergy and VHA chaplains. Poster presented at the 126th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.

Craig, R. A., Rommen, J., Krotz, K., Robb Kondrath, S., & Eriksson, C. (2017, November). The impact of childhood trauma and adversity on views of suffering. Poster presented at the 33rd annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Chicago, IL.

Eriksson, C. B., Krotz, K. C., Robb Kondrath, S., Rommen, J., & Craig, R. A. (2017, November). Partnerships for care: Creating trauma-informed clergy. Poster presented at the 33rd annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Chicago, IL.

Gideon, Q., Eriksson, C. B., Canales, A., Sorenson, M., Rommen, J.  & Krotz, K. (March 2016). Well-being depicted through photos taken by a vulnerable population in contemporary Northern Uganda. Poster presented at the 60th annual meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Science (CAPS), Pasadena, CA.

Coppinger Pickett, C., Wilkins, A., Ahmed, P., & Eriksson, C. (November 2015). Relational capacity: Implications for ministry and mission. Paper presented at the annual conference of Mental Health and Missions, Angola, IN.

Eriksson, C. B., Currier, J., Kaiser, R., Olff, M. & Snider, L. (November 2014). Childhood adversity and risk for posttraumatic distress in humanitarian aid deployment. Paper presented at the 30th annual meeting of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), Miami, FL.

Huston, M. B., Rommen, J., Sorenson, M., Wilkins, A., Rensberger, J., & Eriksson, B. (November 2014).  Jordanian and Iraqi refugee aid workers’ feedback to organizations: Major themes and response likelihood’s relationship with posttraumatic distress, organizational support, and demographic variables. Poster presented at the 30th annual meeting of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), Miami, FL.

Wilkins, A., Coppinger Pickett, C., Burnside, R., Ahmed, P., Eriksson, C. & Barrett (November 2014). Childhood trauma exposure, adult attachment, and youth workers’ social network structure. Paper presented at the 30th annual meeting of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), Miami, FL.


Ager, A., Pasha, E., Yu, G., Duke, T., Eriksson, C., & Lopes Cardozo, B. (2012). Stress, mental health and burnout in national humanitarian aid workers in Gulu, northern Uganda. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25, 713-720.

Coppinger Pickett, C., Barrett, J. L., Eriksson, C. B., & Kabiri, C. (2017). Social networks among ministry relationships: Relational capacity, burnout, & ministry effectiveness. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 45(2), 92-105.

Currier, J. M. & Eriksson, C. B. (2017). Trauma and spirituality: Empirical advances in an under-studied area of community experience. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 4. 231-237.

Eriksson, C. B., Holland, J. M., Currier, J. M., Snider, L. M., Ager, A. K., Kaiser, R. R., & Simon, W. S. (2015). Trajectories of spiritual change among expatriate humanitarian aid workers: A prospective longitudinal study. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 7(1), 13-23. doi:10.1037/a0037703 

Eriksson, C. B., Wilkins, A., & Frederick, N. (2017). Trauma, faith, and care for the counselor. In H. D. Gingrich & F. Gingrich (Eds.), Treating Trauma in Christian Counseling. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press.

Fort, C., Eriksson, C. B., Wilkins, A., & Gottuso, D. A. (2017). Posture in relation to God and ethnic background: A qualitative analysis of urban youth ministry workers’ responses to crisis. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 45(2), 119-132.

Lopes Cardozo, B., Gotway Crawford, C., Eriksson, C., Zhu, J., Sabin, M., Ager, A., Simon, W. (2012).  Psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and burnout among international humanitarian aid workers: A longitudinal study. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44948. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044948

Lopes Cardozo, B., Sivilli, T. I., Crawford, C., Scholte, W. F., Petit, P., Ghitis, F., Ager, A., & Eriksson, C. (2013). Factors Affecting Mental Health of Local Staff Working in the Vanni Region, Sri Lanka. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5, 581-590. doi: 10.1037/a0030969

Shin, H. J., Mwiti, G., Tomosada, M., & Eriksson, C. B. (2017). Associations between trauma exposure, religious coping, and psychiatric distress in a community sample in Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 4, 250-260.

Wilkins, A., Eriksson, C. B., Gottuso, A., & Fort, C. (2017). Urban ministry workers’ positive experiences of interpersonal and religious support during crisis. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 4, 274-285.

Wilkins, A., Eriksson, C. B., Barrett, J. L., Coppinger Pickett, C. (2017). Early trauma as a predictor of burnout and social network structure in mission workers. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 45 (2), 106-118.

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Jim Cummings, MDiv, MA
Research Administrator

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Pasadena, CA 91182