6 EMDRIA Credits
Generally defined as the use of God or religion as tools to gain power and control by the abuser, spiritual abuse is one of the most overlooked forms of abuse in clinical settings. However, the willingness to address it will give clinicians added insight into many of their clients and how to more effectively and holistically address treatment. Spiritual abuse is not just relevant for those who have been members of cults—it is a very real condition that often occurs in individuals who have been abused, or who struggle with addiction issues. The aim of this presentation is not to single out any one group; rather, to examine common themes of power, control, and shaming/manipulation that exists across religions and spiritual practices. The Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) Model offers an excellent lens through which to conceptualize spiritual abuse as a trauma. Patterned sets of negative cognitions needing to be addressed as treatment issues (e.g., “I am undeserving in God’s eyes,” “Love is earned,” “I am not worthy of Divine love,” “I am shameful/cast to hell,” etc.) can be elegantly targeted with the standard EMDR protocol/targeting sequences and conceptualized within the 3-pronged protocol. This workshop is the first of its kind to comprehensively define spiritual abuse, frame it within the context of AIP/trauma-informed care, and provide solutions for how to heal it using the EMDR approach.