While many people have healthy relationships with their faiths and religious communities, many others have been profoundly hurt by religious/spiritual abuse. There are extreme cases of cults and physical/sexual abuse, but most often the damage of spiritual abuse comes from religious legalism, abuse of authority, control, threats of exclusion and "eternal damnation," and psychological manipulation. This often subtle abuse can be incredibly traumatic and painful, and may lead to chronic depression, substance misuse, difficulty connecting with others, and feelings of fear, emptiness and despair.
"Exit Counseling" or religious trauma psychotherapy
Those who have left or are thinking of leaving a repressive religious faith often feel lost, powerless, and afraid. Even decades later there is a psychological legacy from having been hurt by the often well-meaning indoctrination of those you trusted most.
Professional and supportive "exit counseling" can help you
- Understand your experience of trauma and abuse by authoritarian religion
- Reclaim your identity, moral values, spiritual beliefs, and right to think for yourself
- Trust your own feelings and thoughts
- Resolve difficult family relationships
- Manage uncomfortable and often overwhelming emotions
- Reclaim your sexuality, creativity, and pleasure in life
- Heal self-destructive behaviors like substance abuse, self-harm, isolation, eating disorders
- Develop as a human being in ways that were previously blocked
- Learn to connect with others again in healthy ways
- Let go of fear