Spiritual Abuse and Religious Trauma

Spiritual abuse describes the experience of and subsequent damage from being manipulated and controlled by a spiritual leader or community and is often linked to cults and high-control groups. Religious Trauma Syndrome is a more recent term coined by Dr. Marlene Winell which can be defined as, “the condition experienced by people who are struggling with leaving an authoritarian, dogmatic religion and coping with the damage of indoctrination.” Her work with religious trauma survivors paved the way for much of the discussion we see happening online today, especially in #Exvangelical circles. If you are a spiritual abuse and/or religious trauma survivor and you’re looking for a place to heal, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s knowledgeable and compassionate specialists today.

Meet the specialists

Sex, intimacy, and connection are natural and essential parts of our lives and humanity. Unfortunately, many of us have experiences and receive messages from our family, church community, and culture during childhood and in our teen years that damage our overall sexual experience, knowledge, and attitudes. The results can stay with us into adulthood and may include shame, guilt, fear, trauma, and a life closed off from emotional and/or physical intimacy. Therapy can help to heal these wounds.

— Stacey Wright, Psychotherapist in Tucker, GA
 

Very few people can identify with the feeling of losing their entire tribe and support system overnight. The courage it takes to walk away from a religious community you've been conditioned to trust, knowing full well you'll be smeared and written off on your way out is immeasurable. Spiritual abuse and religious trauma survivors know how destabilizing this experience is and how lost one can feel as a result. If you're looking for a heretic who understands, I'd be honored to hold space for you.

— Matt Veader, Therapist in Baltimore, MD

Sex, intimacy, and connection are natural and essential parts of our lives and humanity. Unfortunately, many of us have experiences and receive messages from our family, church community, and culture during childhood and in our teen years that damage our overall sexual experience, knowledge, and attitudes. The results can stay with us into adulthood and may include shame, guilt, fear, trauma, and a life closed off from emotional and/or physical intimacy. Therapy can help to heal these wounds.

— Stacey Wright, Psychotherapist in Tucker, GA
 

The courage it takes to walk away from a religious community you've been conditioned to trust, knowing full well you'll be alienated and ostracized immediately when you choose to walk away is immeasurable. Spiritual abuse and religious trauma survivors know how destabilizing these experiences are and how lost one can feel as a result. If you're looking for a heretic who understands, I'd be honored to hold space for you.

— Dwight Bejec, Licensed Professional Counselor in Naperville, IL

Although spirituality and religion exist as a way to connect people and give meaning to life, they are often used against people and end up being harmful rather than helpful. I have personal and professional experience in helping people navigate the guilt, grief, disconnection, bitterness, and other feelings that are often experienced by spiritual/religious trauma.

— Krista Verrastro, Creative Art Therapist in Reisterstown, MD
 

Sex, intimacy, and connection are natural and essential parts of our lives and humanity. Unfortunately, many of us have experiences and receive messages from our family, church community, and culture during childhood and in our teen years that damage our overall sexual experience, knowledge, and attitudes. The results can stay with us into adulthood and may include shame, guilt, fear, trauma, and a life closed off from emotional and/or physical intimacy. Therapy can help to heal these wounds.

— Stacey Wright, Psychotherapist in Tucker, GA

Very few people can identify with the feeling of losing their entire tribe and support system overnight. The courage it takes to walk away from a religious community you've been conditioned to trust, knowing full well you'll be smeared and written off on your way out is immeasurable. Spiritual abuse and religious trauma survivors know how destabilizing this experience is and how lost one can feel as a result. If you're looking for a heretic who understands, I'd be honored to hold space for you.

— Matt Veader, Therapist in Baltimore, MD
 

Although spirituality and religion exist as a way to connect people and give meaning to life, they are often used against people and end up being harmful rather than helpful. I have personal and professional experience in helping people navigate the guilt, grief, disconnection, bitterness, and other feelings that are often experienced by spiritual/religious trauma.

— Krista Verrastro, Creative Art Therapist in Reisterstown, MD

The courage it takes to walk away from a religious community you've been conditioned to trust, knowing full well you'll be alienated and ostracized immediately when you choose to walk away is immeasurable. Spiritual abuse and religious trauma survivors know how destabilizing these experiences are and how lost one can feel as a result. If you're looking for a heretic who understands, I'd be honored to hold space for you.

— Dwight Bejec, Licensed Professional Counselor in Naperville, IL
 

The courage it takes to walk away from a religious community you've been conditioned to trust, knowing full well you'll be alienated and ostracized immediately when you choose to walk away is immeasurable. Spiritual abuse and religious trauma survivors know how destabilizing these experiences are and how lost one can feel as a result. If you're looking for a heretic who understands, I'd be honored to hold space for you.

— Dwight Bejec, Licensed Professional Counselor in Naperville, IL

The courage it takes to walk away from a religious community you've been conditioned to trust, knowing full well you'll be alienated and ostracized immediately when you choose to walk away is immeasurable. Spiritual abuse and religious trauma survivors know how destabilizing these experiences are and how lost one can feel as a result. If you're looking for a heretic who understands, I'd be honored to hold space for you.

— Dwight Bejec, Licensed Professional Counselor in Naperville, IL
 

Although spirituality and religion exist as a way to connect people and give meaning to life, they are often used against people and end up being harmful rather than helpful. I have personal and professional experience in helping people navigate the guilt, grief, disconnection, bitterness, and other feelings that are often experienced by spiritual/religious trauma.

— Krista Verrastro, Creative Art Therapist in Reisterstown, MD