Breaking the Silence on Spiritual Abuse

Breaking the Silence on Spiritual Abuse

Lisa Oakley, Kathryn Kinmond

Language: English

Pages: 153

ISBN: B01A68T380

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Spiritual abuse occurs when an individual, church or a belief system, whether well intentioned or not, dominates, manipulates or castigates individuals through fear tactics, mind control, or some other psychological or emotional abuse. Breaking the Silence of Spiritual Abuse provides the first sustained examination of spiritual abuse within the Christian faith, exploring the definitions and historical context of spiritual abuse while giving voice to survivors' stories of their personal experiences. Providing a balance of
empirical research and practical concerns, this ground-breaking book outlines a process model for the different stages of spiritual abuse and includes strategies for therapists working with survivors of spiritual abuse.




















the rules they will be rewarded with positive social interaction. If they choose to disobey the rules, including the rule not to disagree with the minister, they will experience social isolation and shunning (Hall, 2003). This method of attack is not only powerful for the individual 36 Breaking the Silence on Spiritual Abuse that experiences the isolation. The process of watching others suffering internal church isolation and the threat of this experience is often a means to suppress such

manipulation. Arterburn and Felton (2001) and Enroth (1994) observe the use of manipulation and exploitation as a form of control in the abusive context. Manipulation was an issue investigated in the CES (2012). In response to the question ‘How far do you feel manipulated at church?’ 26 per cent said they sometimes felt manipulated, 6 per cent said they often felt manipulated and 3 per cent said they always felt manipulated. In response to the question ‘Have you ever felt manipulated at church?’

obedience gives rise to the discourse of conformity in the church context. Foucault (1975) suggests that one aspect of modern power is discipline by the imposition of precise norms, that is expectations of behaviour (normalisation). Normalisation is clear in the narratives as individuals are often very aware of the norms of behaviour that are expected. The requirement of individuals to conform and be obedient to the norms set within the context is clear; these would also be social rules of group

this sensitively, being aware that this is not necessarily reflective of their skills or client resistance to the therapeutic process. Rather, it is more likely to be symptomatic of the client’s uncertainty and fear of exploring the experiences they have probably managed and coped with through repression of the trauma. Linked to this, it is important that therapists decide how they will manage boundaries, not least out-of-session contact. As the oftenchaotic nature of the spiritually abused

abuses of power can also be identified in this context. Interestingly, there has been no update on Beasley-Murray’s original research. There is a growing realisation that SA cannot be readily confined to charismatic and evangelical churches (Fehlauer, 2001) and there is a very real danger that we leave other church denominations without scrutiny or suspicion if we assume such confinement. Enroth (1994) suggests that many Christians would seek to endorse the notion that SA happens only in churches

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