Australian western culture tends not to give too much credence to spirituality. However, as we discover a lack of meaning in the things that we thought were important, we are driven to start asking the spiritual questions. Knowing who to talk to about our spiritual ponderings is not always easy.
Sadly, some people who have been brave enough to ask their questions have found themselves on the end of what we call “Spiritual abuse”. This type of abuse occurs when an atmosphere of questioning is replaced by a rigid dogma that requires conformity before being accepted into a community. Spiritual abusers come in all shapes and sizes, usually thinking they are doing good. Yet the harm they cause can take many years to heal.
Clergy are often victims of spiritual abuse at the hands of their congregations. Called to lead and grow their church, pastors and ministers have the unrealistic expectation of being culturally relevant without compromising an outdated rule structure. Frequently this leads to depression and burnout.
At MGA, we provide spiritual counselling for those seeking healing from spiritual abuse and for those wanting to explore ways to express their own spirituality. We do not tell anybody what to believe, but instead ask the “Why” questions about what has commonly been believed or assumed. As with sexuality, spirituality is part of our core being and needs to be expressed in healthy, relevant ways, without fear or prejudice.