How do you discuss this properly?

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Jazzy

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How do you discuss this properly?
« on: December 04, 2017, 12:58:57 AM »
In short, I am strictly an anti-theist. Not only did religion play a large role in my childhood abuse, but I have quite a few problems with it on an intellectual level, as well.

I expect most religious therapists are good people, trying to live a good life, and help others, but there's no way I can see a religious therapist helping me through it all. While it's probably unfair of me, they're one of the "religious bad guys" in my mind, and their (probably well meaning) "god bless you"s and "I'm praying for you"s just trigger more defensive reactions in me, undermining the therapeutic process.

It's difficult to say I'm against religion (there's a lot of negative social attitudes towards us), and even more difficult to say that despite someone's intents and desires, they're actually doing more harm than good. I doubt any of them even understand that.

Is there anyone here who has dealt with this situation before? Do you have any advice on how to best work through it?

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Dee

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 02:27:49 AM »

I understand and struggle with it.  I am not religious living in a country that religion is expected.  I have lied, tried to explain myself, and felt wrong for not having the right beliefs.  I am learning that I don't owe anyone an explanation.  It is nothing to be ashamed of.  Most of all, I don't lie anymore.  I am not against religion; it just isn't my choice and that is okay.

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Three Roses

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 02:54:37 AM »
I know several atheists and anti-theists, and without exception they're all intelligent, warm humans.

Anyone truly concerned for your healing and well-being should IMO respect and honor your requests to not have religion mentioned to you. A basic tenet of most Christian denominations is the concept of free will. If the deity they worship is okay with you making up your own mind about religion, why can't they be? ;)

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Blueberry

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2017, 03:41:00 AM »
 :aaauuugh: There are therapists who say "God bless you" etc !??! I'm truly shocked. I must be in a different country from you. Even if these therapists are religious themselves that shouldn't have a place in your therapy! I went to counselling financed by a religious institution when I was a student. It was open to all denominations (as well as atheists) and religious statements didn't come in to it nor any kind of beliefs. 

 I hope you can find a way through this but have no suggestions except to repeat what 3Roses said: "Anyone truly concerned for your healing and well-being should IMO respect and honor your requests to not have religion mentioned to you."

Are these trauma informed therapists? They ought to know to avoid dishing out triggers.

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Jazzy

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2017, 04:05:33 AM »
Thanks, this is helpful. The more I talk to others about it, the more it becomes clear I should find a different therapist.

Unfortunately Blueberry, this is exactly what I am accustomed to from religious folks. They offer help to the community, open of course to all denominations as well as atheists. However, once you're in the program, their religion takes over, and some of the therapy is directly from their holy books (and prayer of course). I walked in to their trap again!  :doh: This is so frustrating, no wonder why I gave up ...

To end on a positive note, I haven't been there for long, so they haven't had a chance to do a lot of damage this time around!

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woodsgnome

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 04:20:16 AM »
My story involves years of ongoing severe abuse/trauma, all of it at the hands of religious people of my early years (especially the m in the FOO group and teachers of both genders at a religious school).  For a long time after I hated anything to do with religion in any way. 

Many of my triggers and EF's I can solidly identify as deriving from this messy past. In recent years I've begun to deal with this in a more balanced way, though. I can still tense at religion and even at certain words associated with it, but I've also been able to distance the abysmal people who abused me and see them for what they were--hypocrites drenched in their own sordid mess. Religion by itself isn't the problem--hypocrisy is.

 I'm actually fascinated with what's called nondual spirituality, but this isn't the place to delve into it. Were someone to ask for a definition, I'd first brand myself as apatheistic. Meaning I'm apathetic about anyone's religion. I've heard it all, follow my heart instead of my head, and have been better able to discern my needs.

With regard to what you asked, my boundary line is this--when anyone tries to club me over the head with their version of certainty. Knowing that type quite well, I also know to steer clear of them.

If it's the case you've had therapists interjecting religious beliefs directly into the therapy, that's out of line, period. Those sorts perhaps deserve more to be called thera-pests.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 04:27:27 AM by woodsgnome »

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Blueberry

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 05:52:07 AM »
Unfortunately Blueberry, this is exactly what I am accustomed to from religious folks. They offer help to the community, open of course to all denominations as well as atheists. However, once you're in the program, their religion takes over, and some of the therapy is directly from their holy books (and prayer of course).

I believe you! I'm just shocked. This should not happen. 

:thumbup: on idea of finding a different therapist.

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ah

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2017, 06:37:33 AM »
I agree with every word woodsgnome wrote.
Same happened and is still happening to me, and I'm still struggling with separating things in my own mind, especially hypocrisy / values.
I don't think I'd be able to see that sort of therapist either, it would just be too triggering... it wouldn't be a safe place for me, not a good fit.










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Bungle

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2017, 10:50:46 AM »
Hey Jazzy, I vaguely remember seeing a psychologist/counsellor in my late teens who would say things like that, and how uncomfortable it made me feel-- having someone else's beliefs thrust onto one in therapy doesn't make for a safe, beneficial therapeutic relationship. Further dialog with other mental health professionals has shown me that she was a terrible therapist ;D
Please don't think there's anything wrong with you if it takes a while to find someone who actually understands you.

When my current psychologist let slip that she also has a background of trauma, I realised that I had found a profoundly trustworthy person to speak to. She understands my situation because she's experienced and integrated her own terrible pain.
To give you an idea of time-frame, it's taken 12 years to find her :) Along the way I've spoken to 2 others for periods of a year or longer who have helped me significantly- one man who asked me to sign a contract saying I would live out the natural term of my life and put it in his filing cabinet, another (very pushy and AA-indoctrinated,) lady who supported me through early sobriety. She was great, though she just couldn't/wouldn't get on my wavelength and ultimately the 'you have to go to AA' thing got old. Despite that she helped me immensely, and I'm here today writing this because of it :)

My best wishes to you :wave:

I'm actually fascinated with what's called nondual spirituality, but this isn't the place to delve into it.

Prior to my NRM involvement, I had no faith whatsoever; absolute nihilism. The one thing that I have really taken with me in a positive way from the group is that philosophy.

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Kat

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Re: How do you discuss this properly?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2017, 10:49:59 PM »
Jazzy, I had the same reaction as Blueberry "There are therapists who say "God bless you" etc !??" 

I've actually had the very opposite experience of you.  I've been curious about religion and Christianity having not been brought up religious.  My T is a very devout Christian.  She's got an MS in theology.  Early on if I tried to bring up the subject and ask her for her thoughts, she'd shut the conversation down quite quickly.  She would tell me that it was not her place to discuss those things.  She would and has answered general questions about Christianity and the Bible now that we've been working together a decade, but, she's never once brought up the topic on her own.

I hope you are successful in your search for a new therapist.  I'm sorry you're having to look in the first place.