Many religions teach ideologies that psychologically traumatize millions of people. Yet few helping professionals are trained to help people heal from religious trauma. Religious abuse can result in anxiety disorders, PTSD, spiritual suppression, sexual dysfunction, and communal shunning. Indoctrination also results in societal harms such as oppression of women and LGBT communities and climate change denial. When people leave religious total identity systems, they face a major life crisis. The process of transitioning and healing has a general shape and stage-specific challenges. Challenges like grieving the death of god, overcoming fear of hellfire torture, and rebuilding the self-relationship damaged by teachings about sin and surrender of agency are commonplace. How can we help people suffering within oppressive religions? How can we facilitate spiritual and life transition for those questioning their religion? How can we help those in recovery heal from religious trauma? This lecture will define the basic issues and advocate activism, training, and research.

Andrew Jasko, M.Div. Princeton Seminary, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) in progress, is a religious trauma activist and spiritual transition coach. He raises awareness about the psycho-spiritual harms of fundamentalist religion and provides resources to facilitate transition into secular life and spirituality at www.lifeafterdogma.org. Andrew was formerly a Pentecostal Christian minister and missionary to India. Although religious faith was his life’s passion, Andrew suffered from anxiety, depression, and guilt about sexuality. He left his religion after realizing that biblical teachings were the cause of his distress. Andrew studies religion from the perspective of trauma and is working to create a training program for therapists and helping professionals to heal religious trauma and work with people in spiritual transition. Andrew has extensive knowledge of many forms of Christianity from personal experience and study and has walked many individuals through the process of healing. His writings and talks can be found at www.lifeafterdogma.org. Andrew offers private coaching, speaks at events, and facilitates workshops. Contact Andrew for coaching and booking: lifeafterdogma@gmail.com

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