Writer, Teacher, & Consultant

My name is Dr. Stephanie Arel. I write and teach about internal obstacles that get in the way of self-growth. I believe that self-reflection, through self-examination, helps people help themselves and, in turn, help others. I am committed to providing tools and methods of caring for the self to support those engaged in caring for others. Strengthening the self leads to healthier living, better relationships, and flourishing communities.

Most Recent Podcasts

Bearing Witness: The Impact of Memorialization

"In this podcast series produced by Andrew W. Mellon Fellow Dr. Stephanie Arel and award winning documentary filmmaker Jessica Daugherty, we will speak with memorial and museum workers including curators, collectors, writers, and directors about the personal and communal impact of their work at memorial sites to investigate the importance of the roles they play in society.

In this episode, we speak with Lisa Conte, head conservator at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and Alexandra Drakakis, a former curator who worked there for 13 years, to discuss the influences of the memorial museum on the survivor community and on their own lives."

The Khôra: Flight Attendant

"In this podcast series, Dr. Stephanie Arel and Jessica Daugherty envision the Khôra as a holding space, a container for encountering the emotional impact of caring and bearing witness to trauma. The series records the experiences of those engaged in practices of care, who may encounter traumatic circumstances at work, in order to illuminate strategies for individual growth, especially in situations where life presents stressful circumstances or when others are in need.

In this episode, we speak a flight attendant on a major airline, Cyndi Alvizo, to discuss the myriad ways she responds to others' needs at work, illustrating what we call 'care in the air.'"

About My Work

Currently, I teach at Fordham University. My speciality is identifying what problems lie beneath the surface in modern conflicts related to religion, mass trauma, and interpersonal struggles. I hold a Master's Degree in Religion and Psychiatry from Union Theological Seminary, affiliated with Columbia University, and a PhD in Theological Studies from Boston University.

My experience includes working in a mental health clinic for women and supporting staff at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. In my teaching, I am dedicated to encouraging people to examine themselves and the world around them in order to become more compassionate citizens. I am the author of Affect Theory, Shame, and Christian Formation.

This book addresses the eclipse of shame in Christian theology by showing how shame emerges in Christian texts and practice in ways that can be neither assimilated into a discourse of guilt nor dissociated from embodiment. The traditional focus on guilt obscures shame by perpetuating the image of the lonely sinner in guilt. Drawing on recent studies in affect and attachment theories to frame the theological analysis, the text examines the theological anthropological writings of Augustine and Reinhold Niebuhr, the interpretation of empathy by Edith Stein, and moments of touch in Christian praxis. Bringing the affective dynamics of shame to the forefront enables theologians and religious leaders to identify where shame emerges in language and human behavior. The text expands work in trauma theory, providing a multi-layered theological lens for engaging shame and accompanying suffering.


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