June 11, 2016

Spiritual Abuse Recovery

I attended a theological seminary and now it's finished finally. Having little kids and sometimes also a job, it took eight years instead of normal three or four to finish. I wrote the diploma thesis about spiritual abuse recovery in my country. 
Here is the English summary.

Spiritual abuse = behavior of spiritual authorities that weakens, undermines, harms spiritually and emotionally those under their influence. It mainly means emotional abuse, manipulation, using e.g wrong emphasis in teachings, discouraging relationships with and information from outside the congregation, etc.
 It can be just a certain controlling and manipulative leader or some problematic teachings in more or less normal organization/congregation, or most of the organization and it’s teaching can be abusive.

The purpose of the research was to study spiritual abuse effects and recovery from  English sources, to compare the findings to the experience of /my contryman/, and to draw conclusions for improvement of the care for the spiritually abused /in my country./

The main sources for the experience abroad were D. Johnson & J.VanVonderen's The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, R. Enroth's Recovering From Churches that Abuse, J. Hutchinson's Out of the Cults and Into the Church. The survey was inspired mostly by B. Orlowski's Spiritual Abuse Recovery research and the results were compared to the results of Orlowski were possible. 

The main questions for the survey of spiritually abused /in my country/ were:
  • Where and what kind of spiritual abuse have the respondents experienced?
  • What problems and how long did they experience afterwards?
  • What/who helped them to recover and what kind of help they would like still to have?
The survey had mostly scales and half-open questions, it was conducted by an online form and analyzed both quantitative and qualitative ways. The number of completed forms analysed was 31. Steven Hassan's BITE Model of Cult Mind Control was used as a base for cathegorizing the survey results about abuse. 

The research showed that the spiritual abuse, the following problems and the helping aids are similar both in North America and in /my country/. An important difference is the lack of information about spiritual abuse and recovery in /my/ language. 

The advice for impoving the recovery of the spiritually abused /in my country/ are as follows:

  • To translate or compile information about the characteristics of spiritual abuse and the recovery, including the stories of the abused;
  • To promote sharing and publishing the aforementioned information and stories, online,but also in print;
  • To unite persons who would like to support others using their experience of spiritual abuse and to create means for contacting them, like an home page.
Hopefully, the thesis itself provides useful information for the spiritually abused, for their concerned friends and relatives and for those in position to care for the hurting.