“Tractio Divina” – A Particular Christian Spiritual Discipline: Exploring how it may Assist Embodiment and the Transformation of Trauma


  • Nadia Pavich Australian College of Ministries, and Sydney College of Divinity, Australia


Although there is increasing research to demonstrate the beneficial effects of the classical contemplative practices to transform trauma, there is a gap in the research exploring the efficaciousness of the Christian Spiritual Disciplines (CSD) and how they may facilitate embodiment and the transformation of trauma. Some research recommends that further studies are needed to understand the role of spirituality in healing trauma. This article examines how Tractio Divina (TD) – a particular Christian spiritual discipline, practiced in combination with two other CSD – Lectio Divina (LD) and Visio Divina (VD), may facilitate embodiment and transform trauma from Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). It highlights the case study of a survivor of childhood sexual trauma who engages daily with these three CSD. It seeks to gain insight that may inform ministry and improve outcomes for trauma survivors – particularly, survivors of childhood sexual trauma.

Keywords: Tractio Divina, Christian spiritual disciplines, child sexual abuse, trauma, drawing, embodiment, transformation.

Author Biography

Nadia Pavich, Australian College of Ministries, and Sydney College of Divinity, Australia

Nadia Pavich is a Clinical Pastoral Care Practitioner/Chaplain and theologian who recently completed a MA (Specialisation in Chaplaincy) which included a research project exploring Tractio Divina (TD) – a particular Christian spiritual discipline – and its usefulness to transform trauma. She is the author of two spiritual handbooks for survivors of child sexual abuse: “Child, Arise!” (Awarded the 2016 Australian Christian Book of the Year), and “Come Forward!” (both using the pseudonym of Jane N. Dowling). She is a survivor of clergy child sexual abuse, and an advocate for other survivors.






Peer Reviewed Articles