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woman healing from trauma, self-care, self-compassion

Religious Trauma

As a therapist specializing in religious trauma, my approach is grounded in empathy and respect for individuals' beliefs and experiences. Religion can be a source of comfort, community, and purpose for many people, and my goal is not to undermine those positive aspects. Instead, I aim to provide a safe space where individuals can explore experiences within their religious context that caused distress. Whether it's navigating conflicting beliefs, coping with judgment or rejection, or processing traumatic events within a religious framework, I am here to support clients in finding healing while honoring their spiritual journey. My goal is to help clients find a sense of agency and authenticity. I approach each client with empathy, cultural sensitivity, and a deep respect for their individual beliefs and values.


What is religious trauma?

Religious trauma encompasses the psychological distress or harm resulting from individuals' experiences within religious contexts. It can affect individuals differently, but generally, it involves feelings of fear, guilt, shame, confusion, lack of autonomy, or disillusionment related to one's religious upbringing or experiences.


Causes of Religious trauma

Religious trauma can result from a range of experiences, including:

  • Authoritarian religious teachings that instill fear, shame, or guilt.

  • Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse perpetrated within religious contexts.

  • Conflicts between personal beliefs and religious teachings.

  • Pressure to conform to rigid religious standards or expectations.

  • Rejection, or discrimination from religious communities due to non-conformity, questioning, sexual orientation, or gender identity

  • Internalized homophobia or transphobia due to religious teachings that condemn LGBTQ+ identities 

  • Restrictive gender roles that promote, obedience, people pleasing, self-sacrifice or other behaviors that limit women's autonomy and agency

  • Religious teachings around sexuality, purity, or modesty leading to feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety surrounding their bodies, desires, and sexual experiences.


Symptoms of Religious Trauma

  • Anxiety, depression, or panic attacks triggered by religious triggers or trauma reminders.

  • Intrusive thoughts or flashbacks related to traumatic religious experiences.

  • Difficulty forming healthy relationships or trusting others due to past religious betrayals.

  • Low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and shame stemming from internalized religious teachings.

  • People pleasing tendencies, inability to be assertive, difficulty setting boundaries or asking for needs and wants.

  • Inability to feel emotions labeled “bad” such as anger

  • Negative body image and negative beliefs around sexuality, purity, modesty

  • Feelings of spiritual crisis, existential dread, or loss of faith.

  • Isolation due to loss of community 

Recovery from religious trauma 

  • Seeking support from mental health professionals, such as therapists specializing in religious trauma that are LGBTQ+ affirming 

  • Cultivating self-care practices, boundaries, and assertiveness skills to prioritize personal well-being and resilience. 

  • Reevaluating and reconstructing one's beliefs and relationship with spirituality in a way that feels authentic and empowering.

  • Challenging and reframing internalized beliefs and messages that perpetuate shame or self-rejection.

  • Practicing self acceptance and self compassion

  • Meeting one’s own needs and desires

  • Connecting with supportive communities or individuals who respect one's identity, autonomy and journey. 

  • Processing and integrating past experiences through therapy, journaling, or creative outlets.


As a therapist, my approach is grounded in empathy, cultural sensitivity, and a commitment to honoring each individual's journey. Whether you're navigating religious trauma as an LGBTQ+ person, a woman, or from any other background, know that you're not alone. Together, we can navigate the complexities of religious trauma, foster healing, and empower you to live authentically and resiliently.

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