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Indianapolis Conference

Understanding Abusive Spiritual Systems and Relationships 

Where: Indiana University- Purdue University
875 W North St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Hine Hall, President's Room [Directions/Campus Map]
When: March 17, 2018 | 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
4 CE Hours

This event will bring together mental health professionals and other helping professionals who currently work with those who have experienced spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse may be viewed as being situated within the broader umbrella of psychological abuse but is a unique and often unrecognized aspect of this broader phenomenon. The societal value placed on religion can sometimes hinder critical evaluation of harmful dynamics and coercive control within religious frameworks. This workshop will explore spiritual abuse and the underlying mechanism of coercive control, and explore counseling interventions for clinicians working with those who have experienced abusive spiritual systems and relationships, and their loved ones.

Topics will include: 
  • Introduction to Spiritual Abuse (Ashley Allen, MSW, LMSW, .25 CE hours)
  • Panel: Born and/or Raised in Spiritually Abusive Groups (Debby Schriver, MS, 1.0 CE hour)
  • God Images, Implicit Religions, and Multiplicity of the Self: New Conceptual Models for Understanding the Experience of Spiritually Abusive Groups (Peter Malinoski, PhD, 1.0 CE hour)
  • Early Trauma, Spirituality, and Serious Mental Illness: Exploring Intersecting Factors (Vincent Starnino, PhD, 1.0 CE hour)
  • Applying Cultural Competency to Work With Former Members (Matthew Staton, MDiv Counseling, .75 CE hours)
  • Choosing Self-Advocacy: An Attorney's Journey Through Spiritual Abuse (Danya Shakfeh, Esq.)
  • Panel: Support Groups (Dawn Racine M.S.Ed.,  Donna Lark, and Gina Harding, MBA)
  • Roundtable Discussions (Donna Backstrom; Anna Holmquist; Stephen Martin, MDiv; Peter Malinoski, PhD)

Learning Objectives:
  1. Attendees will be able to identify clinically relevant effects of spiritual abuse. 
  2. Attendees will be able to describe areas of clinical focus with this population. 
  3. Attendees will be able to utilize effective skills for assessing spiritual abuse. 
  4. Attendees will be able to identify the unique clinical needs of children raised in spiritually abusive groups.  

Non-ICSA Members: $35.00 + $7.00 for parking voucher
ICSA Members including Institutional Members: $25.00 + $7.00 for parking voucher
6 CE credits are available with registration 
(Please check with your individual board to be sure NBCC CE hours are accepted)

Financial Assistance 

Scholarships are available for those with financial need, e.g., unemployment, disability. Contact ICSA at Information on spiritual abuse: