Warning Signs for Religious Abuse

Posted by Rebecca Spooner, LPC, NCC on Jul 31, 2018 11:47:16 AM
Rebecca Spooner, LPC, NCC

Video Transcript:

    Hi! I’m Rebecca Spooner, the founder of Wellspring Renewal Center, which is a counseling center located in the heart of Little Rock.  

Where everyone is welcome and where healing happens.  I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, but I am also a Presbyterian Minister.  In my practice, I choose to focus on all denominations and their families. And that's pretty much what I am about. 

     At Wellspring we have a variety of different therapists that are trained in a lot of different issues.  All of these therapists can meet your needs. If you will just check us out you can find out which one works best for you.  In fact in the next couple of weeks you are going to be hearing from each of the therapist here at Wellspring.  They are going to be telling you a little bit about themselves, but more importantly they are going to be telling you how they can help you.

     I grew up in the South, in the heart of the Bible belt. And as a person of faith I want to give you three quick warning signs for spiritual abuse.

   The first one is shame and humiliation. Do you ever feel worse about who you are after you have gone to a religious event? Well, you might be experiencing some shame and humiliation.  Now, none of us are perfect; we all know that. But shame is not of God. A healthy religious community will help you connect with yourself and will help you connect with God.  And find a community of safe people with whom you can be honest about yourself.  Shame and humiliation are not of God. You want to avoid that. Run. 

     The second thing is: can you be honest about who you are?  Is it a congregation where you can tell the truth about your struggles, about your joys, about what you celebrate?  Now, historically, if we are really honest, we know that Christians have not done a really great job of creating faith communities where we can be honest about who we are.  But just know that healthy faith is an honest faith.  Where we can celebrate who we are, where we can be honest about our joys, our struggles, and our challenges.

     The third, and I think this might be the most important, and that's manipulation.  Do not EVER let another person tell you what you need to think or feel.  God gave you a beautiful mind and a beautiful heart and encourages each of us to use it and to think for ourselves. If your attending a religious service or part of a religious community that makes you feel uncomfortable....maybe telling you the truth.  Never let anyone push you into doing anything that you are not comfortable with. Manipulation is never okay.

     Now in my own healing journey I have found healing both in places of faith and in my therapist office. As Opera has been known to say, " It's about living your best life."  Whether you are a person of faith or not, Wellspring is about helping you find the best version of you..... Like us on Facebook. Have a great day!

We've written a companion blog post about Keeping Clergy Mentally Healthy

Topics: Religious Abuse

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