Research has long supported the notion that religion can be a source of meaning, connection, and belonging as well as a protective factor against depression, suicidality, and substance abuse. This presentation proposes that the relationships and social structures that can do the most good also hold the power to be profoundly harmful, as is the case for those who have experienced religious trauma, defined here as a wide range of adverse, discreet experiences or pervasive narratives that overwhelm an individual’s ability to feel safe. Clients may uncover deeply embedded feelings of shame, guilt, or anger as they begin to question, examine, or dismantle the experiences and implicit narratives within a particular religion of origin, a process known as religious deconstruction. For many, religious deconstruction includes intense personal distress, loss of previous support structures, and identity renegotiation. This presentation seeks to examine the clinical implications of religious trauma and deconstruction while exploring theoretical frameworks and interventions for accompanying clients through the stages of religious deconstruction and towards a renewed understanding of personal identity and values.
- Define key terms such as religious trauma, deconstruction, deconversion, adverse religious experiences, and spiritual abuse
- Explore common themes and narratives associated with religious deconstruction including messaging around sexuality, gender roles, relationships, purity, authority, shame, and the afterlife.
- Examine six common stages of religious deconstruction and accompanying social considerations
- Explore relevant therapeutic frameworks and interventions for accompanying clients during the process of deconstruction and identity renegotiation
- Examine the unique experiences of religious trauma and deconstruction for the LGBTQIA+ community
- Explore ethical considerations for counselors when working within the realm of personal spirituality and religious affiliation with clients.
Presenters: Dr. Christine Ebrahim, PhD, LPC-S, NCC and Mr. Joseph Kalita, masters candidate
1.0 CE clock hours in Ethics. 1.0 NBCC credits are available.
The Louisiana Counseling Association has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP #2019. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. LCA is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.