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601 | Is it Spiritual Abuse?: Introducing the Spiritual Abuse Assessment

Abuse, Violence, and Trauma-informed Care, Saturday 9/16 8:45 – 10:00 AM, Workshop Tracks


Karen Roudkovski, M.Div.; Ph.D.



Approved For CE

Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU




Spiritual abuse is a popular topic in books, blogs, and social media. Yet, there is a paucity of academic research on the topic. There is no agreed-upon definition, and few resources exist to determine whether an individual has experienced spiritual abuse. This presentation is intended for licensed mental health professionals to explore research on recognizing and assessing spiritual abuse in their clinical practice. Pastors and other non-licensed professionals may also benefit from learning how to recognize spiritual abuse. Participants will review a brief history of the term “spiritual abuse,” examine how the term has been defined by researchers, and explore common themes experienced by spiritual abuse survivors. Also, participants will be introduced to the existing research on evaluating spiritual abuse through an assessment and clinical interview. The Spiritual Abuse Assessment, developed by the presenter, will be introduced and explained. It may be used to assess for spiritual abuse in any setting or relationship and is not limited to Christian backgrounds.

Learning Objectives

1. Develop a definition of the term spiritual abuse
2. Describe the underlying themes of spiritual abuse as identified by researchers
3. Identify ways to assess spiritual abuse in the clinical setting
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