Spirituality and Well-being and Recovering from Religious Trauma

The purpose of this event is to engage in a healing discussion about healing and restoration of a sense of self after the experience of having a spiritual journey interrupted by religious trauma.

This talk will address the psychological and spiritual damage suffered by those whose religious communities have rejected them for differences that are foundational to diversity, particularly racial, ethnic, and LGBTQIA+ identities. We will also address those from religious and spiritual communities who have felt marginalized within a secular environment. And we will also address the experience of religious trauma and marginalization from within religious groups. How do we build a multicultural community in light of how some religious communities have invalidated people because of race, gender, or sexuality? And how do we navigate religious tradition and practice in a secular environment like Williams College? We are hoping for at least four follow-up events after Claiming Williams, which will be held during the spring semester.

For those who have abandoned religion as a result of experiences characterized by disconnectedness or trauma, the Chaplain’s Office, IWS, and the office of Sexual Assault Response, and Health Education are holding this workshop and the four follow-up meetings in an effort to hold space for discussions about faith and religious trauma. This group, also partnering with other student groups, will also offer insight into how pastoral counseling, psychotherapy, well-being values, and mindfulness practices can be a way of exploring and healing from religious trauma. This workshop will also discuss how to support persons from marginalized intersectional identities as they seek liberation from religious and sociocultural trauma. This workshop is open to students of all religions (and no religion) and to those who have abandoned or have no future plans to connect with organized religion.

The “truth-value” of specific beliefs will not be debated—rather, the positive psychological impacts of religion for those who engage deeply and feel included regardless of specific beliefs will be outlined and contrasted with the profound negative psychological impacts of religious trauma for those who feel excluded or diminished by religion-based institutional and interpersonal oppression.

IWS/Chaplain’s Office/Sexual Assault Response, and Health Education/Queer Interfaith

2– 3:30 p.m.

Weston Hall, Presentation Room