Religion is weaponized and used to commit very real harm time and time again, in the name of spirituality. Intersectional issues such as racism, misogyny, sexual and gender expression are all entwined with the subject.
Therapy continues to be contextualized within the dominant patriarchal culture that upholds narratives situating white cis able-bodied men as superior to trans and cis women, trans men, nonbinary persons, racialized folks, neurodivergent folks, disabled folks, and any others deemed outside that narrow, normative circle. This context can result in the spirituality and religiosity of these folks automatically being delegitimized too. And yet it’s possible to argue that psychopathology is, in fact, a result of some degree of absence of spiritual connection to the life and universe around you – as well as, in some instances, even a result of an overwhelming experience of that connection, an experience that takes an individual beyond what their materialist culture provides any kind of framework for, leaving them totally overwhelmed by something they therefore cannot explain or contain.
Spirituality and religiosity can be core components of what a person brings to the therapy experience. A lack of understanding of another’s worldview in this sense – a failure, for example, to look beyond mainstream media portrayals of Islam – can be serious barriers to effective therapy. This is where any ignorance on behalf of the practitioner of any of the ways in which a client experiences oppression can lead to all manner of harmful values being imposed upon them.
Thoughts on Therapy and Mental Health