Spiritual Abuse Resources


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

Coming Events


Cult Stories

ICSA is organizing a series of virtual events entitled Cult Stories. In this series former members of cultic groups or relationships will be interviewed by ICSA. After the interview, virtual attendees, depending upon the interviewee’s preferences, may have an opportunity to ask questions via chat or voice. These events are expected to last 60 - 90 minutes.

Another webinar series aims at helping former Jehovah's Witnesses deal with recovery issues.


Recovery Workshops for Survivors of Cultic and High-Control Groups

Philadelphia, PA

February 8-9, 2020

Coercive Control, Cults and Community

Nashville, TN

February 22, 2020

ICSA 2020 Annual Conference

Montreal, Canada

July 2-4, 2020

Surviving and Moving On After a High-Demand Group Experience: A Workshop for Those Born/Raised in Cults

Chester, CT - April 24-26, 2020

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 Research Studies on Spiritual Abuse

One component of SAR is Spiritual Safe Haven Network (SSHN), which consists of individuals and religious institutions (churches, synagogues, campus religious organizations, etc.) that want to offer those who have experienced spiritual abuse a "safe haven" providing spiritual solace, information, and community.

To become a part of this network and receive updates from SpiritualAbuseResources.com please sign up for our e-newsletter and complete our survey.


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