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You're Newly Secular

If you're newly secular, this period in your life can be a challenging one, as you navigate a new stance on your former religion, and you figure out how to negotiate family ties and relationships with people who were aligned with how you used to think. You are looking for a safe space to parse this all out without judgement and find your way forward.


Deconstruction can be especially challenging if you left a high control religion or a cult (click here for Dr. Steven Hassan’s BITE Model of Authoritarian Control for more info on what behavior control, information control, thought control and emotional control look like).


I work with clients who were previously members of a wide variety of religions. Similarly, my clients now identify as atheists, agnostics, secular, secular humanists, none’s, non-religious, non-religious but spiritual, or, with no label at all.  

  • Understanding Religious Trauma, Adverse Religious Experiences (AREs), and Undue Influence

  • Grasping the difference between PTSD and cPTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

  • Spotting 1-on-1 coercive control or institutional coercive control

  • Understanding the impact of rules on dependence and obedience

  • Moving away from black and white or ‘us vs. them’ fearful thinking

  • Learning about the stages of deconstruction

  • Preparing to ‘come out’ to your loved ones (if you want to)

  • Examining the impact that all these experiences might have had on your sexuality

  • Shifting from an external locus of control to an internal locus of control

  • Exploring how messages on gender might have impacted you

  • Differentiating between overt and covert power dynamics

  • Listening to your body’s reactions to situations, especially if you were once taught to negate them

  • Parsing out what you miss and what you don’t miss from your old religion

  • Setting and keeping boundaries, which can be especially challenging if you were taught that you didn’t have the right to do so

  • Giving yourself permission to stop repressing your thoughts and feelings

  • Being kind to yourself and accepting that the road you are taking is not a linear one

  • No longer fearing ‘the outside world’ and groups of people who were previously off limits to you

  • In short, giving yourself permission to be you!

Furthermore, if you identify as LGBTQIA+ and were raised in a religion where this is considered shameful, you might want us to also tackle issues of sexuality, identity, shame and sexual repression.


To be clear, I’m obviously not here to impose any belief system on you— I’m guessing that if you’re reading this right now you’ve already had quite enough of THAT! :)


Here are just some of the goals you might want to address in therapy, depending on what your experiences have been:

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