The Refuge offers holistic and experiential residential treatment in a serene, secluded healing environment for religious and spiritual trauma recovery, moving beyond the symptoms to resolve the underlying issues.
About Religious Trauma
For most people, religion is a source of strength in difficult times and guidance throughout life’s challenging moments. Faith-based communities like parishes and congregations often supply a much-needed sense of belonging and support, and increasingly these communities are becoming more welcoming to diverse populations.
But sometimes, religious beliefs can be used as weapons of power and control that can cause significant trauma. We have become all too familiar with the rampant corruption within many religious institutions that allowed horrifying physical, emotional, and sexual abuse to continue for decades. Then there are the authoritarian religious sects that deny individuals the right to be their autonomous selves, known for imparting hate and shame throughout their teachings.
Children raised in these communities are at especially high risk of experiencing the effects of religious trauma. Even after escaping the environment, they will likely experience troubling symptoms later in life. If you are an adult whose childhood was impacted by religious trauma, please know that you’re not alone. The Refuge offers hope and healing for trauma of many kinds, including that enacted by religious communities. We provide a safe haven for you to embrace your truth, acknowledge your past, and heal from your trauma.
Signs and Symptoms of Religious Trauma
Religious trauma can manifest in many ways, and no two people will have the exact same experience. However, there are several typical signs and symptoms often seen in adults who experienced religious trauma as children, including the following:
- Impeded development (social, emotional, sexual, etc.)
- Depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns
- Poor decision-making skills
- Lack of self-confidence and self-esteem
- Sense of isolation
- Pervasive feelings of guilt and shame
- Difficulty forming healthy adult relationships
- Poor interpersonal boundaries
- Nightmares and/or recurring uncontrollable thoughts about the trauma
- Avoidance behaviors (i.e., avoiding any thing, person, or place that reminds you of the trauma)
- Health concerns (e.g., sleep issues or appetite problems)
Treatment for Religious Trauma at Our Center
Our rehab’s clinicians are all trauma-certified and experienced in numerous types of trauma-related therapeutic approaches. We understand how difficult dealing with religious trauma can be, and are aware of the incredible suffering you may feel at this time. Our approach is one of compassionate caring; we will never minimize, invalidate, or judge your experiences. Hope and support are two critical facets of our treatment methods, and when you come to our nationally recognized PTSD treatment center, you become part of our family.
At The Refuge, you’ll undergo a series of evaluations to allow us to best understand the ways in which religious trauma is impacting your life. Our medical evaluation will indicate whether you’re self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, and whether you’re struggling with any medical complications associated with PTSD. In addition, our psychiatric evaluation will let us determine the severity of your symptoms and identify the presence of any co-occurring disorders. From there, our treatment team will create a plan of care that meets all your needs – mind, body, and soul. We know that you’re more than a constellation of symptoms, and we’re ready to help you on your journey towards recovery.
Treatment approaches for religious trauma may include:
Interpersonal therapy (IPT): Focuses on social relationships and re-establishing normal roles in life, such as re-engaging with peers, participating in social activities, and functioning normally in your previously established roles.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Helps you to restructure maladaptive thoughts related to your trauma and replace them with accurate thoughts.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): Focuses on validating your experiences, stabilizing your emotions, and teaching you how to cope with stress.
Intensive family therapy and Family Week: Families and loved ones are a crucial source of support as you heal from your trauma and symptoms. Family members may need to deal with their own issues related to your experience. The ability to share these emotions at our residential treatment center with those you are closest to is a powerful technique for support.
We are a holistic rehab center, and we believe in using numerous methods of experiential treatments, including:
- Creative expression
- Equine therapy
- Dramatic experiencing
- Ropes courses
- Art therapy
As your time with us draws to a close, we will work closely with you to create a plan of care that meets your continuing therapeutic needs. Many people continue their treatment in a structured outpatient setting and opt for a partial hospitalization program (PHP). Some people feel that they have made enough progress to continue healing on a traditional outpatient basis. We will set you up with outpatient referrals and can even schedule your first appointment with a therapist. We’ll also provide referrals to local community resources to help you continue your healing.