Religious Trauma Sociological Study


The Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR) has established the world's first and most comprehensive psychiatric research group to study the causes, manifestations, and treatment options for those suffering from "religious trauma" (RT). GCRR has built a team of approximately 30 licensed psychiatrists, therapists, sociologists, university professors, religion scholars, and Ph.D. candidates from around the world, all who specialize in the field of trauma research.​

Where is the Empirical Data?
In order for victims of religious trauma to receive the help they need, we need to arrive at a place in our culture where religious trauma is accepted as a real condition, not just a subset of PTSD or some other anxiety disorder. Within our culture, we need to recognize that even though there are many prosocial aspects of religious belief, certain religious contexts have also been responsible for a number of traumatic experiences for people all around the globe.

Unfortunately, the academic study of religious trauma remains in its infancy when compared to other studies in mental health.

Sadly, this means that there is no actual empirical data to support what we have seen and experienced in the tens of thousands: that religious trauma exists and is a chronic problem within many religions. GCRR intends to correct this gap of knowledge by offering an interdisciplinary and scientific examination of the origins, impact, and treatment options of religious trauma.

Why Resort to Crowdfunding?
Sadly, all federal funding for mental health research in the U.S. has stopped for the time being, and we now have to turn to the public for help.

Objectives of the Research Project
As a research-driven institute, GCRR recognizes the need to provide mental health professionals, as well as religious specialists, with scientifically-derived, factual data in order to begin work on understanding and then treating religious trauma. Thus, once funded, GCRR will partner with Springtide Research Institute to conduct a nationwide sociological study on those impacted by religious trauma in the United States. This sociological study will be the first of its kind and will provide the foundational empirical data necessary to educate and hopefully prevent religious trauma from occuring in the future. Once the study has been peer-reviewed and then published, it will be used to educate doctors and clinical psychologists on how best to treat individuals suffering from RT. These components will then form the basis of GCRR’s petition to have RT listed in future editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), though not as an isolated diagnosis or mental disorder.

Furthermore, GCRR Press will then be able to publish a large-scale textbook for practitioners, patients, and researchers, which will be one of the most comprehensive publications on the study of religious trauma (RT). Currently, the outline for this textbook includes chapters on:

~Why the Study of RT is important;
~Historical, social, and cultural aspects of RT;
~Psychological and clinical methods for studying RT;
~Issues in defining RT;
~Causes and triggers of RT;
~Physical, psychological, interpersonal, and emotional manifestations of RT; and,
~Effective and ineffective treatments for RT (particularly as it relates to methods for treating other afflictions like PTSD).

Certain members of the 30-member project will contribute unique research from multiple fields of study for inclusion in the publication. The completed textbook will feature an examination of more nuanced interpersonal aspects of religious trauma, such as the differences between children and adults who suffer from RT in terms of symptoms, causes, triggers, as well as the correlations between brain activity and behavioral symptoms. Moreover, an examination of the role that power differentials have on marginalized groups, such as racial minorities, women, and the LGBTQ+ community, will also be included in order to better understand the societal and cultural impacts of RT. There will also be research into best treatment practices in regard to cultural, relational, and institutional identities. 

Each contributing author will complete their research using the most currently accepted, discipline-specific methodologies, including quantifiable sociological data, qualitative psychoanalyses, and socio-historical contextual examinations. Some of the specific methodologies that will be included in the research are somatic trauma therapy, polyvagal theory, a combination of individual and group therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and music therapy. Other unique contributions will include the formation of a diagnostic Acute Stress Disorder Interview variation to help determine whether a patient is currently suffering from religious trauma. These individual studies will aid in legitimizing religious trauma as an important mental health topic, both for the psychologists, therapists, and doctors who treat RT and for those who suffer from it.

Broader Intellectual Merits
Individuals victimized by some religious groups or teachings have endured issues such as child abuse, rape, molestation, and many other harmful experiences. However, no studies have been put forth to validate the existence of "religious trauma" or to enhance our clinical understanding of how best to treat these individuals. For now, patients with signs of religious trauma are left without answers or an understanding of their experiences. GCRR aims to fill this gap of knowledge. The objective and potential outcome of the Religious Trauma Research is to make religious trauma identifiable in an official, clinical setting, as well as to normalize the identity for patients and practitioners alike.

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Darren Slade 
Denver, CO
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