Religious Trauma Syndrome: Healing Spiritual Wounds

Religious Trauma Syndrome is a very real problem that isn’t widely understood by mental health professionals. Spirituality and religion are linked to positive physical and mental health outcomes, according to reputable studies. But at times, unhealthy religious or spiritual teachings can cause more problems than they solve. 

Religious trauma doesn’t just happen to people who’ve belonged to cults or been assaulted by members of the clergy. Authoritarian, fundamentalist teachings flourish in many different cultures and religious settings. One of the lasting effects of this type of trauma is an inability to trust yourself, your ideas, your drives and desires. Play is hard for people struggling with RTS because guilt and shame are really hard to break free from. That’s why PlayGrounding came to be. I was trying to break free before I even knew what from. But I do now.

How Religious Trauma Healing Began with PlayGrounding

In this episode, Gary Ware of Breakthrough Play interviews me, Kara Fortier, the host of PlayGrounding. Through my work toward interfaith ordination, I’ve begun the process of uncovering my own story of religious trauma, sexual assault, and finding my way back to a healthy spiritual life. None of it would have been possible without rediscovering the power of play as an adult and working on my passion project, PlayGrounding.

Over the years, PlayGrounding has been a place to learn about play. I never really had my own message about it. I wanted to elevate others’ voices and figure things out for myself on the side. But what I’ve learned so far about play has taken on deeper significance as I study at All Paths. And now, I do have my own story – my own message about why play is so important. It’s just not an easy story to tell.

I shared this with a group of fellow play-enthusiasts. I was looking for ideas about how to switch gears – going from someone whose only role has been to facilitate conversations to a speaker with my own story. Especially here on PlayGrounding. Then Gary spoke up and offered to interview me for my own show. I was blown away – it’s such an incredible honor to have him do this.  I’m so incredibly grateful.

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