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Christian exit counselling is aimed at people who voluntarily want to disengage from involvement with the Christian church. This process can include healing the deep subconscious from a variety of problematic issues.
Involvement with Christian activities and Christian churches can cause, and exacerbate, a wide range of emotional, psychological, spiritual and financial problems. In some cases, extremely serious mental health issues can arise. Many Christian cults exist – they can seem to be very benign and harmless. Often the surface impression can appear to be good, and it is only later that you realize that you are in the grip of a Christian cult, or a church with cult like tendencies.
I am well versed in the both the problems that people involved with Christian churches experience, and in the solutions. This stems from my having once been a Christian minister, heavily involved in church activity, and my experience freeing my own mind from the deep problems associated with both the Christian involvement, and also the prior mental health issues which led in part to my involvement with Christianity and ‘god freaks‘ in the first place. Many of my prior mental health issues were exacerbated by my church experiences.
I have in-depth personal experience of how involvement with Christian churches, church-folk and Christian thinking or beliefs can damage your mind, relationships, finances and life in general. To get help, contact me here.
By Christian cults I do not simply mean weirdos such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses or similar – I include many churches in this definition – places where cult type behaviour exists. This Wikipedia article will give you some pointers as to how to identify a cult and you will see many similarities with Christian churches, especially the charismatic, Pentecostal, ‘Full Gospel’ varieties.
For more on this subject, please check out my blog article:
Exit counseling, which can also be called strategic intervention therapy, thought reform or cult intervention, is designed to persuade an individual to leave the problematic group. Exit counseling is different from deprogramming because it’s a voluntary procedure, the member is treated respectfully, can leave at any time, and the decision to stay with the group, or leave, is exclusively the member’s and will be recognised and accepted by the exit counselor.
One goal of Christian exit counseling is not to extract someone out of the church against their will, but to give that person as much education as possible regarding the group he or she has become a member of. It is only through education, awareness and mind healing that someone can regain their critical thinking skills. A free thinking person can then make decisions to leave the group. Once someone has been educated, they are aware of facts which they were unaware of when joining, through no fault of their own.
One type of person treated in exit counseling is the “survivor.” Survivors have symptoms of PTSD, examples include: nightmares, intrusive images or thoughts, fearfulness, and various psychosomatic disorders and malfunctions as a result of having been involved in church activities and with church people. Some of these church people are highly skilled manipulators and mentally abusive, though often in subtle ways. Therapy should zero in on re-framing and detriggering the traumatic incidents that continue to affect the former church member via a number of methods, which include: educational strategies, cognitive behavioral techniques and subconscious mind healing.
If you wish, Christian exit counselling can be done in presence of the family of the victim. At times, I am hired by the marriage partner or worried relatives of the follower, however I want to underline that the person who needs help must voluntarily agree to be helped. No coercion is involved.
Another related service I provide is support and counselling for relatives or partners of people who are immersed in church life. Such relatives and partners can be under an enormous strain as a result of the church member’s involvement, activities and attitudes.
Religious people, and those who are politically correct and obsess over religious freedom and tolerance, often strongly oppose exit counseling because they say that a key aim is to alter a person’s beliefs. Advocates of exit counseling argue that the issue is not the beliefs of a person, but the informed choice of the person concerning their beliefs. Personally, I would also add that if you believe something which is harmful, then there is indeed excellent reason to change one’s beliefs! As such the situation is not about religious freedom or tolerance – for example; if someone’s religious beliefs involve suicide or activities which are harmful to others, then those beliefs should be changed.
“In the entire first Christian Century, Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence.” Dr. Bart Ehrman – Professor Of Religious Studies – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
More reading from Scientific American ™: Can Neuroscience Cure People of Faith in God? Is religious fundamentalism a form of mental illness?