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  • Writer's pictureLisa Floyd

What is Religious Trauma and How to Heal

religious trauma therapy

What is Religious Trauma?

Religious trauma results from an event, series of events, relationships, or circumstances within or connected to religious beliefs, practices, or structures that is experienced by an individual as overwhelming or disruptive and has lasting adverse effects on a person’s physical, mental, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Religious trauma often involves breaking away from a controlling environment, lifestyle, or spiritual figure, and the symptoms of religious trauma can be similar to those of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD).

Examples of Religious Trauma

  • A child experiencing same-sex attraction is told their feelings are sinful, and they must repent.

  • A young woman becoming pregnant out of wedlock may be subject to sanctions and ostracized from the community or congregation.

  • A person may be told most of their financial resources should go to the cause of furthering the message of the religion, causing financial hardship.

Religious Trauma Symptoms

  • Depression, grief, loneliness, or anxiety

  • Exclusion from your social network or family

  • Social immaturity or awkwardness

  • Sexual problems

  • Feeling out of place outside your religion

  • Detachment from culture and social norms

How to Heal from Religious Trauma

The first step in healing religious trauma is to recognize that it has impacted your life and

functioning. It is important to get connected to healthy support and individuals outside of your

religious community along with recognizing your individual beliefs and ideas. I am a trauma

informed and Brainspotting Certified therapist who can help you to deconstruct from religious

teachings that may have harmed you and begin to create healthy ways to establish boundaries.

You may wish to remain in your religion in some capacity, or you may wish to leave religion

completely; we can explore both options. Brainspotting can help you to process and release

your religious trauma, and I look forward to working with you.

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