Spiritual Abuse Resources


Mission

Spiritual Abuse Resources (SAR) provides information and assistance to:

1. Victims of spiritual abuse

2. Clergy and other religious professionals

3. Mental health professionals

4. Families

5. Anyone concerned about spiritual abuse

What is Spiritual Abuse?

The resources on this Website conceive of spiritual abuse in different ways.

Some apply the term spiritual abuse to any kind of psychological, physical, or sexual abuse that takes place in a religious context. Others apply the term specifically to manipulations that damage a person's relationship to God or to his/her core self. Spiritual abuse has been reported in mainstream religious organizations as well as nonmainstream groups, such as cults.

The terms psychological abuse or emotional abuse refer to harms that overlap those associated with both conceptualizations of spiritual abuse. These harms include but are not limited to: damaged self-esteem, induced dependency, impaired capacity to trust, and emotional reactions such as anger, anxiety, and depression. In some cases, one's faith in God may also be shaken.

To a large degree, the choice of a term, psychological abuse or spiritual abuse, depends upon the framework (psychological or religious) with which the speaker/writer feels comfortable.

This Website finds value in resources coming from psychological and religious frameworks, though obviously some issues, e.g., questions about God's mercy, may require religious concepts to address properly. We hope that readers will remain open to both perspectives and make their own determinations about what information is useful to them. More on What is Spiritual Abuse

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Coming Events

Recovering From Spiritual Abuse (Hartford, CT - October 26-27, 2018) - Info Online Registration

ICSA Annual Conference (Philadelphia, PA - July 5-7, 2018) - Info Online Registration

Surviving and Moving On After a High-Demand Group Experience: A Workshop for Those Born/Raised in Cults (Chester, CT - April 27-29, 2018) - Info

Featured Resources

Video: Spiritual Manipulation in Pseudochristian Cults. Doug Duncan, MS, LPC; Wendy Duncan, MA, LBSW; Molly Koshatka

Traumatic Narcissism: The Psychology of Cult Leaders. Daniel Shaw, LCSW