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A faith crisis is an existential crisis that goes by many names: religious trauma, a crisis of faith, spiritual crisis, or spiritual emergency. A faith crisis arises when someone begins to reevaluate their beliefs, values, and worldview in a way that brings them into contention with the dogma of their religion or religious culture. Austin Francom, a psychiatric nurse at Therapeutic Alternatives in SLC, explains that a faith crisis is a complex identity crisis. 

Individuals in a faith crisis often struggle with membership and church participation. Bluntly put, they feel conflicted about staying in the church, and they feel conflicted about leaving. Some decide to stay. Some decide to leave.

Utah Is a Mecca of Religious Trauma

Religion can be a wonderful thing for some people. However, it can be deeply traumatizing for others who feel at odds with church teachings, dogma, or culture. 

Across the country, the demographic of people stepping away from organized religion is greater than ever.

Individuals may step away from their religion to varying degrees. This may range from inwardly doubting doctrinal issues while still attending church functions to completely redefining their spiritual or religious identities. 

Religious Trauma

“A faith crisis can cause serious psychological pain,” explains Candace Curzon, a licensed therapist at Therapeutic Alternatives in SLC. This psychological pain is often called “religious trauma.” 

Religious trauma refers to a two-fold trauma:

  1. The first trauma results from the indoctrination of a controlling religious community.
  2. The second trauma occurs when leaving that community. 


There are several symptoms that people may experience when inwardly conflicting or leaving a church and/or church community that has been a major feature of life,” explains Austin Francom. There’s inward turmoil that arises when doubts begin to shadow beliefs. A sense of shame may overcome a person when they do not live up to standards of morality. They may feel inadequate living in their purity or perfection-centered community. People can experience a sense of betrayal after investing in an organization and then later feel lied to or misled by the authority of that organization. 

Austin Francom , a licensed APRN at Therapeutic Alternatives, adds that

“Leaving a church with such a pervasive presence” creates a big void in a person’s life. After losing “a controlling or restrictive lifestyle, people must learn how to manage and accept their less restrictive lifestyle.” Also, people “struggle with redefining personal morality and spirituality after the loss of a built-in structure/system.” Francom concludes, “perhaps the most devastating symptom of religious trauma is when a person feels a disconnect from God.”

Leaving the Community

Many social consequences accompany a faith transition. Francom explains that some people who leave the church fear “ostracization from family and friends.” Even if a person is not ostracized, “there can be constant pressure from their loved ones to return to the church.” Francom adds, “even if a person’s loved ones don’t pressure them to return, people who leave the church feel judged by friends and family who disagree with their life choices.”

Austin Francom explains, “many of my patients who have left their religion comment about the ongoing struggle maintaining healthy relationships with the friends and family members who remain in the church.” For these patients, says Francom, “it is important to learn how to set healthy boundaries.” They also need to let go of a lot of shame and guilt. “When we do not judge ourselves, the judgments of others become less triggering.”

Growing Through Your Faith Crisis With Therapy

Following a faith transition, therapy can help an individual deal with the ongoing personal and cultural consequences of leaving their faith. Therapy can help restore a sense of spiritual homeostasis for those left fractured following religious trauma.

 Therapeutic Alternatives is renowned for leading the industry in faith crisis therapy. “I’ve experienced it myself,” says Francom, “I know how devastating it can be, and I know how to overcome it.”

Ketamine: a Breakthrough Treatment for Religious Trauma

Francom has experienced his own faith crisis and helped hundreds of patients through their own spiritual transitions. He feels particular excitement about a breakthrough treatment revolutionizing therapy. “Ketamine therapy is a great tool for helping individuals navigate their way through a crisis of faith.”

Ketamine Therapy SLC at Therapeutic Alternatives is one of Utah’s leading Ketamine clinics.

Ketamine is a breakthrough treatment for depression and other psychological disorders. Originally developed as an anesthetic, studies demonstrate that Ketamine improves mental health in two powerful ways:

  1. Ketamine’s psychedelic properties help individuals feel a spiritual connection to something not based on their previously held beliefs. Ketamine helps individuals fill the void once filled by the church with something uplifting, genuine, and aligned with personal beliefs.
  2. Ketamine repairs circuitry in the brain. It resets the pathways that lead to negative and unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Ketamine is highly effective at helping patients let go of shame and guilt and embrace a new, healthier, more genuine identity of themselves.

If you are going through a faith crisis, you are not alone. Therapy can help. Therapeutic breakthroughs like Ketamine can help even more. Find out if Therapeutic Alternatives can help. Reach out online or call 385-685-1410 today.

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Schedule a Ketamine
Treatment Consultation

Schedule an appointment via call or text at
(385) 685-1410
or fill out the form below:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By submitting this form you agree to be contacted via phone/text/email

Accredited by The Ketamine Training Center in 2021.

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