Religious Trauma

Religious Trauma


There is a growing community of exvangelicals (and ex-Mormons, ex-JWs, ex-SDAs, etc.) who have left fundamentalist churches. Others have left spiritual groups with abusive, charismatic gurus (e.g., Shambhala and Rigpa) and are left feeling devastated and mistrustful. 

Recovery from religious trauma for exvangelicals and others can mean navigating family conflict and crises of faith, as well embarking on the difficult task of forging a whole new way of being (a process known as “deconstruction”). 

Many struggle to replace the sense of belonging and meaning their old community provided. It can feel daunting to recreate a sense of meaning and purpose grounded in one’s own conscience and values, while also honoring the many losses involved. Having a therapist with in-depth knowledge of these struggles and the type of beliefs you were taught can be very helpful.

Dr. Coco is such a resource. She grew up Seventh-day Adventist and went to Adventist schools up through college—including two years in church boarding school. She left the church as a young adult and began a long psychological, spiritual, and artistic process of recovery that culminated in becoming a clinical psychologist and published poet.

As an adult, she also became versed in Buddhist and yoga traditions, so this life experience and knowledge makes her an informed and compassionate companion for those on similar journeys.

To increase her clinical skills in treating religious trauma, Dr. Coco attends an online study group with Marlene Winnell, Ph.D., the expert who literally wrote the book on religious trauma (see Leaving the Fold). Dr. Coco is also a Level 1 Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (taught by Eric Gentry, Ph.D.).

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