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Digital Recording

Religious Trauma and Spiritual Abuse: Working with Survivors of Adverse Religious Experiences

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Candice Richardson Dickens, LCPC-S, LCADC-S, CCTP, MAC
1 Hour 36 Minutes
Audio and Video
Feb 23, 2023
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Digital Recording
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Religion can be a powerful and supportive experience. But some of your clients experienced something quite different. Exposed to rigid, toxic and controlling beliefs in their families, churches and other relationships, they’re left struggling to unpack the resulting trauma, loss of self and twisted web of feelings and emotions about themselves. In this session, view Candice Richardson Dickens for a deeper understanding of one of the most overlooked forms of abuse and how we as therapists can recognize the signs and respond.


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


This online program is worth 1.75 hours CPD.



Candice Richardson Dickens, LCPC-S, LCADC-S, CCTP, MAC's Profile

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Candace R. Dickens is a PESI Faculty Member and Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Maryland as well as the District of Columbia. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision at Saybrook University. She is a strong advocator for creating culturally sensitive counter spaces that promote racial/ethnic healing, identity formation and group resiliency. Her proudest accomplishments as an advocator for racial healing are found in her creating the BIPOC Provider Directory Color of Trauma and Healing, and founding Kujichagulia, a BIPOC therapeutic counseling group for African American female students attending Bowling Green State University. She is a popular speaker and has been featured at major conferences such as NAADAC National Conference, the Maryland Tuerk Conference, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland Conference, Black Mental Health Alliance Conference, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Boston University School of Social Work.  


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Candice Richardson Dickens has employment relationships with CRA Counseling & Consulting Agency and Life Care Bridge. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Candice Richardson Dickens an executive board member for The Night of Peace Shelter. She is a member of the Maryland Association of Imago Therapists and the American Counseling Association.



  1. Investigate key indicators of toxic faith/spiritual abuse and its impact upon individuals.
  2. Assess for commonly encountered negative cognitions in those who have been spiritually abused in the context of clinical symptomology.
  3. Use principals of cultural humility to facilitate a stronger working alliance with clients who’ve experienced adverse religious experiences.


  • Religion & the legacy of colonization
  • Religious Trauma and spiritual abuse – recognizing the signs
  • Pedagogy of religious power, compliancy, submission & coercion
  • Generational patterns
  • Cultural humility and healing practices
  • Treatment risks and limitations

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Educators
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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