1st Edition

Counseling Survivors of Religious Abuse

    This book identifies and analyzes the forms, causes, and potential treatments of religious abuse. Religious abuse can include experiences of sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental abuse connected to a religious context. The book will help readers understand different types of religious abuse, including where the perpetrator is a religious leader, a group, or a system, as well as when there is an overtly spiritual element connected to the justification for the abuse. It also describes common experiences of those who have experienced religious abuse and some treatment approaches that will be useful to mental health providers when their clients present with these experiences. The rigorous scholarly approach of this book provides an academically grounded insight into this complex topic. As such, it will be a key reference for those studying and working in Religious Studies, Religion and Psychology, the Sociology of Religion, and Counseling and Mental Health.

    Section I: Overview

    1 Integrating Spirituality in Counseling

    2 Defining Religious Abuse

    3 Common Experiences of Victims of Religious Abuse

    4 Assessing Religious Abuse

    5 Characteristics of Healthy and Harmful Religious Systems

    6 Common Victim Populations

    Section II: Ethics

    7 Ethical Principles in Treatment of Religious Abuse

    8 Application of Ethics in Treating Religious Abuse

    Section III: Treatment Approaches

    9 The Importance of a Trauma-Informed Approach

    10 The Healing Process

    11 Interventions for Religious Abuse

    12 Supervision and Consultation

    13 Summary


    Paula J. Swindle is Associate Professor of Counseling at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, and has over 24 years of experience as a clinical mental health counselor and supervisor. She owns the Center for Healing Religious Harm, PLLC, which provides counseling and consultation services, and co-hosts the podcast "Sacred Intersections" which examines the intersection of mental health, religion, and religious abuse.

    Craig S. Cashwell is Professor in the Department of School Psychology and Counselor Education at William & Mary and an American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow. Additionally, Craig maintains a part-time private practice focusing on couple counseling, addictions counseling, and spiritual and religious issues. He has over 150 publications, including five books, and has received multiple research awards.

    Jodi L. Tangen is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator at North Dakota State University. Her research interests center on counselor education, spirituality, and teacher and counselor development. She is passionate about training counselors and enjoys teaching courses such as Counseling Techniques and Counseling Across the Lifespan. In her free time, she hangs out with her energetic little kids.