In 2011 I made a conscious decision to walk away from evangelical religion, where I had spent most of my life. In the years since, I have worked through many things to discover what I believe about the christian story as I attempt to reshape my personal belief system. In this process I have really struggled with trusting myself and my ability and right to think for myself, make decisions that are in my best interest and with the fear that hung over me to find and live by the absolute truth. 

What I have come to learn is that these things are a result of a lifetime of indoctrination in evangelical religious structures; lack of agency, decisions making, fear, and so many more are the symptoms of  Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS), first popularized by Marlene Winell in her book Leaving the Fold. Winell describes RTS as a natural byproduct of fundamentalism with its dualistic thinking, lack of space for bodies, demand for obedience, and toxic identity formation.

In this episode Emily Hedrick and I discuss religious trauma; what it is and how is is harming so many people. Emily will discuss her own story and how she helps people work through trauma to lead more whole lives outside of religion.

About Emily Hedrick

Emily Hedrick is a former pastor turned religious trauma informed spirituality coach. She is fascinated by the spiritual technologies employed by religion and curious how humans can use them in the 21st century without exploiting each other. Connect with Emily:

In This Episode

13:10 Defining religious trauma

17:50 Psychological benefits of religion

19:20 Difference between spiritual and religious trauma

22:00 How trauma works-manufactured threats

25:00 Feeling it in the body

31:00 Bad theology

37:00 Post religious trauma

Books & Resources mentioned in the show

Dare to Know
Dare to Know

DARE TO KNOW, where truth is treated as a pursuit, and not a destination This is my attempt to flex my brain, play with ideas and move away from the group think I experienced in religious circles that just about killed me. Here we will follow our curiosity and celebrate using our own reason as a way to fully experience the divine in ourselves and in each other in more meaningful ways. It's about the messy process of growth and the bravery it can take, especially if you have come out of authoritative or fundamentalist spaces where asking questions was not encouraged. We will mess up, get it wrong and adjust when needed.