Suandria Hall: My Choice My Power

Adverse Religious Experiences, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Podcast, Race, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma, Secular Community, secular grief
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My guest this week is Suandria Hall. Suandria is a trauma informed counselor specializing in faith transitions. Her practice, My Choice My Power, is online and she offers mental health counseling to residents in Colorado and life coaching sessions online, by phone, and email for anyone.

What is more important to me than anything is being honest and being authentic about who I am and who I choose to be in this world.
While pretending for a moment seemed easy.
I really had no concept about how much I was about to unravel.
Once I make this choice to say this out loud that I don’t believe this any more. What does that even mean?
But I took a leap and I started to say out loud that I don’t believe this any more.

Suandria tells her story of being groomed for ministry in a very Charismatic community with rigorous honesty. In her early adulthood she began to question and eventually deconverted. She had a positive experience with a therapist who “held space” for her shifting faith positions. She then went on to become a secular counselor to help others through the same process.

What they are looking for is someone who doesn’t force any type of spirituality in the practice.
They just want to show up and say let me just talk through some stuff.

We talk about the power of parents to influence children. And the damage that can occur when parents pass that responsibility on to an invisible god.

The child learns that the love the adoration the loyalty the devotion
that a mother and a child would share with each other is now shifted.
So now god becomes the number one.

Her approach to counseling is trauma informed and acknowledges Adverse Religious Experiences and religious trauma. She helps people going through the process of deconstruction and deconversion while being open to all faith positions.

Trauma is when our bodies our systems becomes overwhelmed, flooded with emotions, flooded with bodily sensations.
It gets stuck.

Links

Suandria’s Counseling Site
https://www.mychoicemypower.com/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/mychoicemypower

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/mychoicemypowercounseling/

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While these points may be a part of your thinking about religion or harmful religious experiences, they are not the foundation of religious trauma. WE ARE TRAUMATIZED when our central nervous system (movements, bodily sensations, thoughts, speech, memory) is… • overwhelmed, altering the way we process and recall memories (Van Der Kolk) • unresolved or incompleted responses (Levine) • overstimulated repeatedly and cumulatively, usually over a period of time and within specific relationships and contexts (Courtois) In plain terms, religious trauma is when your ability to respond and create or experience safety is interrupted by TOO MUCH ENERGY unable to release or complete within religious context. In even plainer terms, your brain & body says "Hey, it's time to take care of yourself and here's the blood flow, chemicals, and hype to do it", but you don't because your religion has taught you to obey, stay silent, trust others (God, the Word, leaders, the group) instead of yourself. You live over stimulated, ready, and "ON" which can look like anxiety, fear, tension. Compliance dampens the discomfort. Examples and potential effects: I want to meet other people outside of our community/beliefs. NO–they are dangerous, sinful, will lead you astray. Obey. Must tow the line to maintain relationships and community acceptance. Kept away from people, cultures, and beliefs unlike yours. Can perpetuate social issues like racism and inequality based on ignorance. I want another my path, explore my interests. NO–stay in God's will. Doubt your ability to make decisions. Limit education and opportunities. Blocks creativity and exploration. Wait for someone or something else to guide you. Hyper-spiritualized decision making. I'm curious about sex and sexuality and want to have ownership of my body. NO–your body is not your own, submit and obey, in heterosexual marriage only. Struggle with intimacy, sexuality, and sometimes even routine health screenings. —– Even when you KNOW you can make another choice you don't because YOUR BODY reminds you that you can't. This is trauma work. This work isn't anti-religion. This work is pro-human experience. #sundaymorning

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Interact

Adverse Religious Experiences series
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/category/adverse-religious-experiences/

Steps of Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Full show notes
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2020/10/18/suandria-hall-my-choice-my-power/

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Dr. Clint Heacock: Reconstruction after Deconstruction

Communities of Unbelief, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, Podcasters, Religious Trauma, Secular Community
Clint Heacock
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Dr. Clint Heacock. Clint is the host of the Mindshift Podcast that focuses on reconstruction after deconstruction. Clint grew up in the Church of Christ with parents who followed the Bill Gothard method of child rearing. Clint now describes this as cultic practices.

What I need to do is discover the authentic Christianity
… and then I wasn’t able to do it.

After pursuing a PhD in Theology in the U.K. while teaching Clint began to recolonize the disparity between what he believed and what he was teaching. The problems with the bible became too much. At the time Clint was hosting a podcast called “Preacher’s Forum.” The content had become too radical for its audience. He then changed the podcast into Mindshift and as his listeners have told him, he began deconstructing in public.

Only when you physically remove yourself and
psychologically remove yourself,
that’s when you start to think critically.

Clint has has had a focus on cult studies, Christian Dominionism and Christian reconstruction where politics and religion meet. He has had various experts in these fields on his podcast.

Best advice: Get yourself educated

Most important Clint has a heart for people. Just because we no longer are religious does not mean we lose our sense of pastoral care.

Links

Mindshift Podcast
http://mindshiftpodcast.co.uk/

Blog
https://medium.com/@clintheacock
https://medium.com/@clintheacock/leaving-christianity-is-a-lot-harder-than-it-looks-8930f532e41e

Interact

Deconversion How To
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

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Support the podcast
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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Janice Selbie: Divorcing Religion

Adverse Religious Experiences, Atheism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Podcast, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest this week is Janice Selbie. Janice is a Registered Professional Counselor (RPC) in Canada helping people through religious trauma syndrome. Janice is the director of the Conference on Religious Trauma. Janice’s personal story of fundamentalism, tragedy and eventual freedom is inspiringly and honestly told on the episode.

Was it possible that everything I had believed had been wrong?

CORT2020 is sponsored by the Secular Therapy Project (a division of Recovering from Religion) and by Journey Free, which is Dr. Marlene Winell’s organization.

Use the discount code GA036  for $60 off a standard ticket.

Janice also provides a workshop called “Divorcing Religion” using the analogy of divorce to help people out of fundamentalist religion.

It might take a tragedy (or more than one) to shake you loose from your cognitive dissonance.

This episode is another in the series of mental health professionals who specialize in religious trauma, religious abuse and the emerging term Adverse Religious Experiences.

Book Recommendations

Janice’s “extimony” has recently been featured in a compilation book called Daring to Share: Deception to Truth:

https://www.amazon.com/Daring-Share-Deception-Diana-Reyers/dp/1999401042

Links

Conference on Religious Trauma
https://cort2020.com/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Wise_Counsellor
https://twitter.com/divorcereligion

Secular Therapy Project
https://www.seculartherapy.org/

Journey Free
https://journeyfree.org/

Interact

Series on Adverse Religious Experiences
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/category/adverse-religious-experiences/

Send in a voice message

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Brian Peck: Room To Thrive

Adverse Religious Experiences, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Podcast, Post Theism, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest today is Brian Peck. He is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who specializes in religious-based trauma in his private practice and who helps guide individuals through their deconversions with evidence-based practices online. His practice is called Room to thrive and Brian describes it as “secular therapy for human well being.” It is trauma-informed therapy and coaching.

Brian has had a huge impact on me and my thinking. It was a great pleasure to get to pick his brain. You can hear me learning in real-time during our discussion.

If you have survived trauma (of any sort), your nervous system did exactly what it needed to do to survive.

This episode is another in an ongoing series of mental health professionals who specialize in religious trauma, religious abuse and the emerging term Adverse Religious Experiences.

We humans need community to survive.

Links

Room To Thrive
https://www.roomtothrive.com/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/RoomToThrive

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/RoomToThrive/

Viral “Trauma is not your fault (period)” post
https://www.facebook.com/RoomToThrive/posts/2496151297329417

How and Why We Believe
https://lifeaftergod.org/059-how-and-why-we-believe-part-1/

Interact

I quote Brian in my article on the Steps of Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Adverse Religious Experiences series
https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/category/adverse-religious-experiences/

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Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Laura Anderson: Adverse Religious Experiences and Religious Trauma

Adverse Religious Experiences, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Podcast, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest is Laura Anderson. We discuss religious abuse, religious trauma and the difference between them.

Abuse is the thing that happened to you.
Trauma is the experience that your body or nervous system has as a response to the thing that happened to you.

Laura is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Tennessee, a Professor of Psychology and an Approved Supervisor through the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). She has a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy and is in the final stages of completing my completing her Ph.D. in Mind-BodyMedicine at Saybrook University. Laura specializes in complex trauma, religious trauma, religious abuse, and purity culture.

Laura has developed a manual for mental health professionals on Adverse Religious Experiences and Religious Trauma which is available on her website. This is a resource for both mental health professionals and those who have experienced adverse religious experiences themselves. Use the discount code: RELIGIOUSTRAUMA15 for $15 off the price of the manual.

This episode is another in an on going series of mental health professionals who specialize in religious trauma, religious abuse and the emerging term Adverse Religious Experiences.

Links

Website:
https://www.lauraandersontherapy.com/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ms_elleanderson

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/ms_elleanderson/

Interact

On the show, I mention my writing on the steps of deconversion and “doubling down” that can be found here:

https://gracefulatheist.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

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Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Brady Hardin: The Life After

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Podcasters, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

My guest today is Brady Hardin. Brady is the co-host and creator of the Life After Podcast. Brady’s story of deconstruction is a painful one. He dedicated his life to ministry at 14. He discovered he was gay, was honest about it and committed to never acting on it. He got married to a woman. He was doing everything “right,” everything that was expected of him.

My biggest “sin” was to believe that the Holy Spirit actually changes people from the inside out and makes them more like God.

Then he got divorced (you have to listen to understand why), was kicked out of ministry, lost his best friend and had his son taken away. He described himself as “God’s only forgotten son.” This was where his deconstruction started.

Why am I the only one trying to do the Holy Spirit’s work for the Holy Spirit? He needs to do something. The ball is in his court.

Today Brady is an openly gay man, a humanist and a deconstruction super star. You can find him on the Life After podcast, on Twitter and Facebook helping others through the deconstruction and deconversion process. Brady is dedicated to raising awareness of Spiritual Abuse, Religious Trauma, and Indoctrination.

I can gaslight myself to be even more indoctrinated or I can take a second, get my head above water and realize: my logic has been drowning this whole time because I have been putting conclusions before evidence and trying to shove these narratives into real life instead of observing what is actually there and working off of that.

In the episode, Brady breaks down how narratives affect our lives. The Evangelical narrative is restrictive and repressive. But we can choose our narratives: a narrative of freedom, self-expression and inspiration.

[Narratives are] what we are using now, with honesty, as atheists and with responsibility to tell our own stories.

Update:

Links

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/BradyHardin

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/thelifeafterorg/
Community group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelifeafter/

The Life After
https://www.thelifeafter.org/

Interact

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Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Karen: Deconversion Therapy

Atheism, Deconversion, Podcast, Podcasters, Religious Trauma
Click to play on anchor.fm

My guest today is Karen, the co-host and creator of the Deconversion Therapy Podcast. Karen is a comedian, a writer, and now a podcast host. She grew up attending Evangelical schools from grade school to Bible college.

Everyone is good at something. I was good at being a Christian.

Karen was so dedicated to Christianity she became a missionary with YWAM. After attending DTS, she and her husband moved to Thailand.

With hindsight what I got called to was adventure, meaning, purpose, travel and helping people.

Honest laughter from the Thai women she was working with shook Karen up enough to recognize maybe they were fine without her Western Jesus after all. Later after reading Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus, Karen further deconstructed when she discovered the premise of her missionary work, Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” was not in the original manuscripts.

Karen’s best advice to Christians:

Don’t research. It is bad for your faith.

Along, with her co-host Bonnie, Karen uses humor, sarcasm, self-deprecation and occasional snark to eviscerate the silliness of Evangelicalism. Their podcast is Deconversion Therapy.

We can laugh at this stuff. We are OK.
You can laugh at this. You are going to be OK.

Links

Website:
https://deconversiontherapypodcast.com/
Deconversion Therapy Link Tree:
https://linktr.ee/deconversiontherapy
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/deconversiontherapy/
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Deconversion-Therapy-Podcast-378017629443177/
Facebook Community Group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/302187740481879/
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/The_DeConverted

Book Recommendation

Interact

Deconversion
How To Deconvert In 10ish Easy Steps

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Support the podcast
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Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Kathleen B. Shannon: Religious Trauma

Adverse Religious Experiences, Podcast, Religious Trauma, Secular Grace, Spirituality
Kathleen B. Shannon on Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

We throw around the term religious trauma but what exactly does the term actually mean?

On today’s show, my guest is Kathleen B. Shannon. Kathleen is a physiotherapist. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Washington state and a Listened Professional Counselor in North Carolina. I asked Kathleen to be on the show to talk about religious trauma from an expert’s perspective.

What does psychology have to say on the subject and what does she sees in her practice?

We discuss Kathleen’s experience at bible college, religious trauma, outrage exhaustion and what Kathleen calls equanimity.

Kathleen’s advice for those deconstructing:

Find a space that is safe to ask the questions, preferably one where they will not give you the answers.

— Kathleen B. Shannon

Links:

Connect with Kathleen B. Shannon:

http://kbshannon.com/
http://spiritualtraumarecovery.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spiritualtraumarecovery/

Shout outs:

I want to give Mandy Nicole (@ThatMandyNicole) credit for coining the term “Prayer Reflex.” Mandy coined the term after the recording of the show but it eloquently describes a feeling I was attempting to articulate in the episode.

Ryan Bell (@ryanjbell) for pointing me to A Great Big World’s song, “Say Something,” as perfectly describing the deconversion experience.

RHE:

The intro points out that we recorded the conversation with today’s guest, Kathleen B. Shannon, before the passing of Rachel Held Evans on May 4th, 2019. The absence of mention of Rachel and her work would have felt awkward. So, I make a few statements about Rachel’s impact on the world of progressive Christianity and I read a statement from Kathleen about Rachel’s impact on her.

Rachel Held Evans’ family’s Go Fund Me page:

https://www.gofundme.com/supporting-rachel-held-evans

Attribution:

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Kimberly Stover: Losing Religion Recovery

Bloggers, Deconversion, Podcast, Secular Grace, Spirituality
Kimberly Stover
Click to play episode on anchor.fm

On today’s episode my guest is Kimberly Stover. Kimberly works in the space of losing religion recovery. She describes this process as having three phases:

Reflect, Recover then Rise

Kimberly and I discuss religious trauma syndrome, the #EmptyThePews movement, how narcissism relates to Evangelicalism and rising up out of recovery. On Kimberly’s site she has resources for those in the process of losing their religion. If you are in the process of losing your religion, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to Kimberly and the resources she has available.

Links:

kimberlystover.com
facebook.com/realkimberlystover
twitter.com/realkimstover
instagram.com/kimberly_stover_writer

Kimberly’s book recommendation:

Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion by Dr. Marlene Winell

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist