"Theology traffiks in ultimacy, so religious trauma will ultimately impact every part of a person's life " I often say. Religious trauma recovery, then, will also impact every domain in a person's life. That's really daunting, but it's also really good news, because when we begin to heal, all parts of our lives get a little easier! People with religious trauma come from all faiths, all denominations, and all socioeconomic backgrounds. That said, I find that LGBTQ+ people and neurodivergent people are often affected more than others.
So, what is religious trauma? Religious trauma refers to the psychological and emotional distress people experience as a result of their involvement in religious or spiritual practices. Religious trauma may stem from a variety of factors, such as strict dogma, oppressive religious authorities, spiritual abuse, or the internal conflict between personal beliefs and religious teachings. This trauma can have long-lasting effects on an individual's self-esteem, identity, and overall well-being, leading to anxiety, depression, difficulty trusting others, or a loss of faith.
As a result of religious trauma, people often struggle with unworthiness, fear of punishment (in this world or the next), loss of community, loss of a "polar star" around which to organize their beliefs, and loss of faith. Healing from religious trauma often involves good therapy, finding supportive community elsewhere (inside or outside of religious contexts), and deconstruction/possible reconstruction. As a religious trauma specialist, you can be confident that I have significant experience working with these phenomena. I'm here to help you make sense of your experiences and heal from the pain they have caused you.