A Christian therapist said I needed “Cult Deprogramming” – leaving the LDS religion
12/9/2016 – Camano Island, WA: Excerpt from my Diary
I was fired by my therapist. In a manner of speaking, anyway. Here’s what happened – I went in for my appointment, and I took the journal entry I wrote last Sunday along with me. When she asked me what I wanted to focus on for the session, I asked if she wanted to read it, and let me know what stood out to her, and then we could work on that.
She asked me to read it to her aloud, instead. I felt super awkward for the first paragraph or so, but then I relaxed and it wasn’t so bad. I’ve had a cold, so my voice wasn’t as high and squeaky as usual. I would normally detest listening to my own “Cinderella” voice for that long – it would give that fingernails-on-the-chalkboard feeling that my son has dubbed “the frizzies.”
My therapist asks some questions about the journal entry and we discuss, though she keeps peering at me with this quizzical, pinched-eyebrow expression. Thirty minutes in, when I am trying to explain the weight of my existential crisis, and how the questions of “What am I doing here? If everything I’ve ever been taught is false, what IS true?” are rumbling around in my mind, she suggests I try reading the bible for some direction.
Frustrated, I try to explain my knee-jerk reaction. “I CAN’T. I have such an aversion to scripture now. It’s all one jumbled mess in my head. I don’t want to get anywhere near conservative religion. Even the word ‘God’ is loaded with so much baggage I don’t like to use it.”
Ding: light goes on above therapist’s head, as she realizes that SHE is in over HER head.
Yup, my brain is that screwed up.
Suddenly, she states that she believes I’m suffering from the cumulative effects of brainwashing from my years spent in Mormonism. And although I have another, equally strong knee-jerk reaction to the term “brainwashing,” I am beginning to suspect that she is right on some level, at least this one: as a therapist, she can’t give me what I need, because she doesn’t GET it. And she’s NEVER going to GET it.
It’s the entire content of my last journal entry – “no one understands!” and she’s one of the “no-one.”
She kindly sends me out of the office instructing me to look for a therapist who specializes in cult deprogramming. I have absolutely no idea how to do that.
I go home and immediately get online, looking for a “deprogramming” therapist (they don’t exist). I look up cults, religious transitioning, ex-mormon therapy – no luck. Finally, I stumble across an LMHP in CA (Marlene Winell) who specializes in “recovery from religious fundamentalism.”
I proceed to devour every word on her website. All I can think is – Yes! That’s Me! Yes! That’s Me, Too! Finally, I am not alone. There is a group of people on the planet who are experiencing similar crises, and this mental anguish is not imagined. It is real, I am real, we are all real, and we are not crazy.