Spiritual Trauma

We’ve heard thousands of stories from people who’ve been hurt by someone in their faith communities–it’s one of the most common elements among The Liturgists. In this episode we discuss spiritual trauma: what it is, how to cope with it, and how to support others through it. Michael Gungor and Science Mike spoke with Hillary McBride, Teresa Pasquale Mateus, and Carol Howard Merritt about trauma in spiritual contexts.

Hillary McBride is a registered clinical counsellor in Vancouver BC, and is a PhD candidate in Counseling Psychology at the University of British Columbia. She has her own private practice specializing in trauma and trauma therapies, both single incident traumas and complex developmental traumas. Hillary has a book coming out in October 2017 called 'mothers, daughters, and body image: learning to love ourselves as we are" about women making peace with their bodies, and learning to embrace and enjoy their bodies- shifting the tide of normative body dissatisfaction among westernized women. You can learn more about Hillary on her website.

Teresa B. Pasquale Mateus, LCSW, E-RYT 200 is a trauma psychotherapist, yoga and contemplative practice teacher and author based out of Chicago, Illinois. She is a graduate of New York University's School of Clinical Social work and Richard Rohr's Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation. She is co-founder and Executive Director of The Mystic Soul Project whose mission is to center the voices, work, and formation for people of color in contemplation, action and healing. She is the author of Sacred Wounds: A Path To Healing from Spiritual Trauma and Mending Broken: A Personal Journey Through the Stages of Trauma & Recovery. Teresa teaches, preaches, lectures, facilitates experiential workshops and retreats around issues of trauma, spiritual journey, ritual, as well as the interconnection between contemplation and action (often with a specifically people of color centered approach). You can learn more about Teresa on her website.

Rev. Carol Howard Merritt is a minister whose writing, speaking, and teaching is anchored in theological wisdom and sociological insight. She’s a sought-after keynote speaker, especially on the topic of ministering in a new generation. The award-winning author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation, Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation, and Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church. Carol is a frequent contributor to books, websites, magazines, and journals. She is a regular writer at the Christian Century where her blog is hosted. You can learn more about Carol on her website.

Additional Resources on Spiritual Trauma

Sacred Wounds: A Path to Healing from Spiritual Trauma by Teresa B. Pasquale Mateus (a guest on this episode).

Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church by Carol Howard Merritt (a guest on this episode).

Hillary offers these suggestions for additional resources:

TW: Please read these books at your discretion. Some books may be more academic and clinical, while others are designed to help you work through trauma or support people you love with trauma. 

these books contain information and narratives about:

interpersonal violence, sexual assault, military trauma, incest, catastrophic disasters, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, clergy abuse. 

If you are looking for a trauma therapist following listening to this episode, consider looking for a therapist who has training in:

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy)

SE (Somatic experiencing)

SP (Sensorimotor psychotherapy)

LI (Lifespan integration)

OEI (Observed and experiential integration)

Hakomi - body based therapy 


trauma and recovery: judith herman

pornography and the end of masculinity: robert jensen

getting past your past- francine shapiro

in an unspoken voice - peter levine

trauma and memory- peter levine

poly vagal theory - steven porges

living like you mean it: ronald fredericks

the body keeps the score: bessel van der kolk

loving someone with PTSD: aphrodite Matsakis

overcoming trauma and PSTD - a workbook: sheela raja

waking the tiger - peter levine

healing trauma- peter levine

attached - amir levin, rachel heller

life after trauma- a workbook: dena rosenbloom, mary beth williams

the sexual healing journey- wendy maltz

the courage to heal- ellen bass

yes means yes- jessica valenti

rape is rape: jody raphae

photo credit: mripp Right in the middle via photopin (license)
podcastMike McHargue