Select Page

022 | Spiritual Abuse: A Mental Health Professional’s Guide to Working with Those Hurt by the Church

Preconference Workshops


Terra Mattson, M.A., and Jeff Mattson, M.A.



Approved For CE

Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, and Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU




After 20 years of groundbreaking research, counseling, and consulting, the presenters have found a rise in church leaders choosing charisma over character, causing a systemic rise of toxic faith communities. Lack of trust and increased disengagement with the Church has become a current concern for the next generation. This interactive and experiential training uses relevant case studies, trauma research, attachment theory, and spiritual formation to equip licensed mental health professionals and ministry leaders with practical tools for treating clients to address the impact of covert and overt spiritual abuse with evidence-based trauma-informed modalities. Participants will also explore the most common dynamics between spiritually abused survivors and their dissociated and compartmentalized leaders and learn how to help those with church wounds finally heal.  

Learning Objectives

Discuss the impact of spiritual abuse on a survivor’s mind, body, heart, soul, and relationships from the lens of neurobiology, spiritual formation, attachment theory, and trauma research   
Identify, diagnose, and treat clients who have come from spiritual abusive systems and how self-awareness of their own stories and exposures to healthy and unhealthy spiritual communities has adversely affected them
Discuss and explore relevant case studies of spiritual abuse, sharpening licensed mental health professionals’ and ministry leaders’ assessment skills of spiritual abuse leaders and those who are most vulnerable to those communities