Paula Swindle (She/her/hers)

Accepting Clients

Hi! I'm Dr. Paula Swindle, LCMHCS, founder and clinical director of the Center for Healing Religious Harm.

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor in Hickory, NC

  • Free Initial Consultation
  • Contact
  • Individual
  • Couples
  • Family
  • Adolescent/Teen

About My Clients

Have you been hurt by church or by religion? Has religion been used as a weapon against you? Harm done in the name of God, Jesus, or faith of any kind has the power to cause great damage. You may feel betrayed, manipulated, misunderstood, or devalued. Religious harm or abuse can happen in many ways, including supporting (directly or indirectly) domestic abuse, gender discrimination, marginalization of the LGBTQ+ community, financial manipulation, racial discrimination, or sexual abuse.

My Background and Approach

Helping clients cope with and heal from experiences of religious harm is the main focus of my counseling work and research. You may be struggling with issues of faith and deciding whether or not to leave your religious community. You may be suffering from depression, trauma, or feelings of worthlessness due to your experiences. You may have family members who have chosen the church over you, or who have refused to accept an important part of your identity due to their religious beliefs. Whatever your religious experience is, or whatever relationship (or not) you want to have with religious systems, healing from religious harm is available, and I am here to help you. While religious harm is my specialty, I also provide counseling services for a wide range of other concerns. You do not have to have experienced religious harm in order to work with me, so if it seems like I am good fit for you, do not hesitate to reach out to me.

My Personal Beliefs and Interests

Over the course of my 22 years of experience as a counselor, I have, unfortunately, heard many heart-breaking stories of peoples' experiences with religious harm. As a person of faith who has had mostly positive experiences with religious systems, I have been horrified and saddened to hear how the sacred has been used to manipulate and ostracize people. This led to me doing a great deal of research on the topic, and created a passion to serve clients who have been impacted by abusive religious systems, beliefs, or individuals. My role as a counselor is not to defend religion or influence anyone in what they do or do not believe. Rather, my role is to provide a space for clients to engage in the healing process, whatever that means for them. For me, helping with the healing process also includes using the privilege that comes with many of my identities to confront and dismantle systems of power that engage in abuse of that power and use it to marginalize or oppress.

Insurance Plans Accepted
  • Aetna
  • Cigna
  • Oscar
  • Optum
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)
  • United Healthcare
I offer online counseling in the following states:
I have experience with the following
  • Agnosticism
  • Atheism
  • Christianity
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Interfaith
  • Multifaith

At A Glance

  • Experience: 23 years of practice
  • Languages: English
  • Rate: $120 - 140/session


8282027767 Email Paula
419 2nd St. NW
Suite G
Hickory, NC 28601

Reach out to Paula