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Secular Therapy and You

Why secular therapy for religious-trauma healing?

The thing about living in the Southern U.S. (and a lot of other places on the planet) is that it tends to be heavily religious.


Maybe you are questioning or have left a previous religion. You might be someone who never subscribed. While those experiences are different, having a therapist who understands and supports you wherever you are in your journey: that matters in therapy.


Over and over again you've struggled with messages equating rules with goodness: rules about who you should be, what you should do. You've questioned who you could share your thoughts with.


It makes sense to need a place to land, unpack, and sort things through.

At Divergent Path Wellness we recognize that religious trauma comes in two types.

The first, which may be your experience if you're searching for a therapist who gets what religious trauma is, comes from the experience of disembarking from a controlling religion that you once belonged to. With that comes grief: changed relationships, loss of community, self-questioning.


Sometimes memories and old stuff returns like strange weather: changing from a creeping mist to a storm of painful thoughts and feelings. It leaves you with that icky weird in-between feeling: knowing staying was no longer for you, and yet, you're missing some things. Where can you say this out loud? Where can you work it out for yourself without having someone try to tell you what to do?


The second comes from living in cities, states, and/or countries with a heavy religious influence. Can we be honest? In the Southern United States, holding on to "separation of church and state" can come with a whopper of cognitive dissonance (the discomfort when what we're saying things are doesn't match up with what actually is).


Being treated like an outsider in your community, seeing that public values don't represent you, impacts your relationship with the world around you. If you've felt pressured to pretend to be religious, or had your decency as a person questioned due to not belonging to a certain group: those are common (shitty) experiences. It's okay for you to seek support that supports you.

At Divergent Path Wellness, we're committed to meeting you where you are and honoring your experience. We don't pretend to have the answers. What we have is a toolkit, an evidence-based framework for therapy. We can help you navigate the hard stuff and the big feelings to create a life that works for you.

Beyond the therapy room, our team is involved in advocacy. We offer the Empathy Beyond Belief training to health and human services providers. Other professionals have described it as "important and thought-provoking" and having "a profound personal and professional impact". We imagine a world where it's much easier to feel confident in finding services that you can trust to honor your experience and hope that showing up and speaking out will be part of a ripple effect. 

Imagine this: this chapter of your life, a future version of you lived it and has moved beyond it. This part of your life is a memory. It's not one that creeps in to torment you, just a previous chapter in your story. You can be more confident, secure in your boundaries, and living your life with clear authenticity.

It makes sense that you need a place to land and sort things through. Schedule your free consultation. Let's help you find a path forward that works for you. 

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Religious Trauma Syndrome 

You may have heard of RTS (Religious Trauma Syndrome). This term, coined by psychologist Marlene Winell, describes the experience, similar to PTSD, you might go through when you have to reconfigure reality after leaving a highly-controlling religion. We take a trauma-informed approach to supporting you in your healing.

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