The lived experience of spiritual abuse

Ward, David J. (2011) The lived experience of spiritual abuse. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 14 9: 899-915. doi:10.1080/13674676.2010.536206

Author Ward, David J.
Title The lived experience of spiritual abuse
Journal name Mental Health, Religion and Culture   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1367-4676
Publication date 2011-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13674676.2010.536206
Volume 14
Issue 9
Start page 899
End page 915
Total pages 17
Place of publication Abingdon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract Over the years there has been considerable research investigating the controversial issues of cult recruitment, "mind control" and post-group difficulties of ex-members from a variety of religious groups. However, the less-well- defined phenomenon of "spiritual abuse" is still under-researched as a specific phenomenon. This is particularly evident in the lack of studies exploring the subjective, internal experience. This study reports on the lived experiences of six individuals who left five different religious groups that were essentially Judeo-Christian in their orientation. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) revealed six core themes throughout the participant narratives. They consist of "Leadership representing God," "Spiritual bullying," "Acceptance via performance," "Spiritual neglect," "Manifestation of internal states," and "Expanding external/internal tension." These are offered as a foundation to answer the question What can be described as the lived experience of spiritual abuse? The findings suggest that spiritual abuse is a multi-faceted and multi-layered experience that is both process and event, affecting the bio/psycho/social and spiritual domains of an individual.
Keyword Spiritual abuse
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Mon, 19 Mar 2012, 14:08:48 EST by Mark Holland on behalf of School of Social Work and Human Services