With decades of global experience equipping individuals, churches, non-profits, and organizations on issues of faith, gender, and justice, Ally provides robust research and writing expertise centering on her leadership, consulting, and academic work addressing the prolific global violence against women and girls. With passion and vulnerability born out of her own struggle to find freedom from domestic abuse, she realized the vital need for resources which address the whole person—mind, body and soul—in healing from trauma. The heart of her quest emerges from both her own healing and academic journey as she pieced together psychological, spiritual, and theological resources. It soon became evident that not only is violence against women and girls the largest global crisis we are facing today, but that faith-based restorative and transformative domestic abuse resources be made available to women, the church, and practitioners. Given the complexity of trauma recovery, doctoral-level research is requisite to the creation of the necessary resources to help survivors around the world be restored to well-being. With this in mind, Ally completed a Ph.D. in Practical Theology, emphasizing in pastoral care and counseling, women's studies, trauma and healing, and spiritual formation.
Through Ally's Ph.D. research she has cultivated an interdisciplinary, critical-correlational conversation at the intersections of trauma theory, feminist theological anthropology, and spiritually integrated psychotherapeutic practices of care. Winnicott’s object relations theory, narrative theory, and the contemplative Christian practice of inner healing prayer are her primary conversation partners as she explores and contributes to scholarship on the process of healing and meaning-making following trauma. Utilizing Winnicott’s notion of the True and False selves in connection with his conception of “holding,”Bion’s idea of “containing,” and Blackwell’s “bearing witness, Ally's research seeks to rebuild the survivor’s personhood through intra- and inter-relational connectivity via a small group format. In order to recreate a cohesive identity for survivors, narrative theory is key to her research as the agentic act of survivors storying their fragmented abuse narratives facilitates healing.
Fundamental to this process of healing for survivors are practices of reparative spirituality empowered by a feminist theological reframing of God and the biblical narratives in order to appropriate redemption, healing, and flourishing for women. Ally's research specifically employs liberative images of a compassionate, suffering Christ in the practice of inner healing prayer for traumatic memories. The product of her research will be a co-participatory model of recovery which enables survivors to build a secure internal attachment to self, God, and others in order to reconstruct their identity as imago Dei.
“The Changing Self: Malformation of Personhood and Reformation of the imago Dei in Survivors of Domestic Abuse” in K. O’Donnell and K. Cross, eds., Feminist and Trauma Theologies: Body, Scripture, and Church in Critical Perspective (SCM Press, forthcoming, 2020).
“What is Domestic Abuse?,” in M. Marshall, ed., Restored: A Handbook for Female Christian Survivors of Domestic Abuse (Restored, London: 2019).
“Healing Practices,” in M. Marshall, ed., Restored: A Handbook for Female Christian Survivors of Domestic Abuse (Restored, London: 2019).
“The Bible and Domestic Abuse,’ in M. Marshall, ed., Restored: A Handbook for Female Christian Survivors of Domestic Abuse (Restored, London: 2019).
“Is it Biblical if I Leave or Divorce an Abusive Partner?” in M. Marshall, ed., Restored: A Handbook for Female Christian Survivors of Domestic Abuse (Restored, London: 2019).
“Is Domestic Abuse a Biblical Form of Suffering?” in M. Marshall, ed., Restored: A Handbook for Female Christian Survivors of Domestic Abuse (Restored, London: 2019).
“Women, Personhood, and the Male God” in Feminist Theology (forthcoming, September 2019)
“#InChurchesToo: Practical Steps for Helping Survivors of Domestic Abuse” in Reflections, Yale Divinity School (October 2018)
“Free To Heal: Breaking the Silence on Domestic Abuse in the UK Church” in Tyndale House, The Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics: Comment, University of Cambridge, UK (October 2017).
“Gender Roles and the People of God: Rethinking What We Were Taught about Men and Women in the Church” in Reviews in Religion & Theology: London, UK (April 2018)
“Healing the Ravaged Soul: Tending the Wounds of Childhood Sexual Abuse” in Reviews in Religion & Theology: London, UK (April 2018)
“What Does the Bible Say About Domestic Abuse,” The Junia Project: Azusa, CA, October 2017
“My Story of Surviving Domestic Abuse,” The Junia Project: Azusa, CA, October 2017
“Can I Get a Divorce?: Domestic Abuse,” Restored London, UK, August 2017
“Suffering, Jesus, and Domestic Abuse,” Restored London, UK, July 2017
“Is Domestic Abuse a Sin?,” Restored London, UK, July 2017
“Free To Heal: Ending Domestic Violence in the Church,” Churches For The Sake of Others: Costa Mesa, CA, October 2016