In this episode we chat with clinical social worker and a trauma-informed coach, Brian Peck. Brian grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church and upon leaving he began to realise the trauma this had caused, which triggered his faith deconstrcution. He now specialises in helping people work through their experiences of religious trauma.
So we talk to Brian about why religious spaces seem predisposed to traumatic experiences, what red flags we should be looking out for, how we can protect ourselves, how we can navigate relationships if we feel we have to leave, and many other things.
After the interview, Nomad hosts Tim Nash and Joy Brooks reflect on their own experiences of religious trauma, and how this has shaped their subsequent faith journey.
Interview starts at 10m 52s
“Christianity shaped much of my early life, but the label is no longer valuable to me. I think, somewhat ironically, I’m more Christ-like now than I was as a believer. It’s interesting how when you no longer feel compelled to behave or believe certain things you can more fully embrace your humanity. And for me that is a more affirming, compassionate way of being in the world.”
“When we think about how we believe, it’s how tightly are we holding to these beliefs? Are we able to believe something with some flexibility? Are we able to consider how a belief functions in the world versus is it true or not?”
“‘Adverse religious experiences’ we define as any experience of religious belief, practice or structure that undermines an individual’s sense of safety or autonomy, and/or negatively impacts their physical, social, emotional, relational, or psychological well-being.”
“Resolving trauma is completing that unresolved survival response.”