Spiritual Trauma Therapy: Are you having Difficult Spiritual
Experiences, a Spiritual Emergency, a Crisis of Faith,
or Spiritual Pain / Spiritual Suffering?
If so, know that there is professional help available.
Spiritual crises and spiritual trauma can destabilize you, confuse you, threaten you at your core, or be earth-shattering.
They can make you feel confuse about yourself, who you are, and they can cause intense physical, emotional, or mental suffering.
But, there is treatment available and specific spiritual trauma psychotherapy that deals with these challenges.
If you have spiritual pain and you are looking for help to overcome your spiritual suffering or to learn about signs/symptoms of spiritual emergency, spiritual crisis of faith, spiritual trauma, or you are having difficult spiritual experiences, you are in the right place.
Spiritual pain and suffering: Which do you have, a spiritual crisis or a crisis of faith?
Spiritual Pain/Suffering Can be either Spiritual in Nature or be a Crisis of Faith.
Spiritual suffering that is spiritual in nature, involves positive, as well as difficult spiritual experiences, which at times can lead to spiritual trauma or spiritual PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
- You may have positive spiritual experiences, (sometimes called a spiritual emergence), if you are experiencing, but not limited to, the following:
a sense of bliss or deep peace that is uncommon or feels divine in nature, a feeling of expansion beyond your body and unity with the world, a feeling of deep love for the whole world, feelings that that are sublime or transcendent, blissful bodily sensation that create a deep sense of intimacy with yourself, a high degree of mental clarity and a sense of all-knowing, a feeling of being “in the zone” or in sync with life, people, and the whole world.
While having these positive spiritual experiences (spiritual emergence), you may also have difficult spiritual experiences (sometimes called spiritual emergencies that could also cause spiritual trauma) that can feel extremely challenging making you feel as if you were riding a life roller coaster. Some of the spiritual emergency symptoms are the following,
You may feel as if you were losing your mind and you wonder if you will ever be the same or be able to interact with people and function in the world again.
You may experience unexplainable painful feeling or deep sorrow for yourself and the whole humanity, or feel a strong surge of energy in your body that is difficult to tolerate and that makes your body tremble disrupting your mind and sleep.
You may experience strong heat or cold bodily sensations. You can suddenly see visions and bright lights, encountering non-friendly beings or mythological figures.
You may feel that your sense of self is disappearing into infinite emptiness, you may feel as if you were not human, or experience a sense of psychological death and rebirth, or a deep feeling of loneliness and alienation from people. You may think that if you were to share these experiences to your friends or family, they’d think that you are crazy and leave you.
These are just some of the possible spiritual emergency symptoms, that can cause spiritual pain or even spiritual trauma / spiritual PTSD.
You may feel divide. A part of you may be curious and interested about all of these spiritual emergencies, but a part of you may be concerned, scared, or even terrified wondering if you will ever be able to live a normal life again, if you’ll ever be able to end your spiritual suffering, if it will be possible to recover from your spiritual trauma, or if you’ll end up losing your mind completely. If this is what you are feeling know that spiritual trauma therapy is specialized to help you deal with these challenges.
Please refer to these links if you are looking for a spiritually sensitive approach to anxiety treatment, depression treatment, PTSD treatment, or for help in spiritual development and spiritual integration.
- A crisis of faith involves a different type of spiritual pain: questioning your faith and religious belief.
You may have been a believer for many years, your faith may have been very important to you; however, for some reason, your relationship to your faith, God, and to your beliefs is changing.
Maybe something is making you doubt your religion and community, maybe you may be experiencing some negative feelings toward God, such as resentment or anger, that are difficult to admit to yourself, or may be you feel betrayed or abused by your community.
These can cause intense spiritual suffering, especially if you do not have people to share there challenges with without feeling judged. Moreover, if you experience intense and difficult feelings for a sustained amount of time, these experiences can lead to psychological, emotional, and spiritual trauma / spiritual PTSD.
Spiritual trauma therapy: There is a solution to spiritual
suffering, difficult spiritual experiences, spiritual
emergencies, crisis of faith, and spiritual PTSD/trauma
Spiritual trauma therapy: Treating spiritual pain and crises that are spiritual in nature.
Painful spiritual experiences can be very difficult, especially if they last for a long time and keep on coming back; yet, there is a treatment available.
In the last few decades spiritual emergencies and spiritual trauma, have been carefully studied by a field of psychology called transpersonal psychology and have been differentiated from psychotic breaks (mental illness).
What has been found is that, when spiritual emergencies are addressed in an environment that is supportive instead of dismissive, in an environment where there is clear understanding of the difference between spiritual emergency and mental illness, in an environment that views these difficult spiritual experiences as a normal part of the human potential and spiritual growth, an environment that is familiar with spiritual trauma, and in an environment that possesses the skills on how to address these experiences instead of repressing them, then these experiences can be metabolized and integrated. And, in the case of spiritual trauma, the trauma can be treated.
Of course, spiritual emergencies could feel emotionally and mentally violent and incredibly difficult to tolerate, especially if they last for a long time. However, with specialized help, with the supportive environment, with the right understanding, and serious commitment, often, in time, it is possible to not just have your life back, but have your life back with the positive aspects of your spiritual experiences pervading your life at work, with family, and friends. This is what spiritual trauma therapy can do: treat your trauma or your spiritually related challenge and help you integrate your positive spiritual experiences into your life.
Spiritual trauma therapy: Help for crisis of faith.
A crisis of faith can be very destabilizing, yet it is possible to surmount them. Although facing your crisis of faith may be scary, it is possible to find enough support and guidance with a spiritual counselor who is specialized in these matters, helping you to feel strong enough to face your possible despair, fear, feelings of hurt, anger, anxiety, spiritual trauma, and keep “faith during crisis.”
When that occurs, usually new possibilities open up. A curtains lifts from your eyes and you are able to see new horizons. I know, right now it may be impossible to envision that, but know that many people have been through that and have come out of it successfully.
You may have questions about spiritual trauma psychotherapy, spiritual trauma, or spiritual emergency symptoms/signs…
Spiritual emergency vs mental illness: How can I know if I am having difficult spiritual experience or I am having a psychotic break (mental illness) and I need to see a medical doctor (a psychiatrist) instead of a psychotherapist?
This is a very important question. A trained transpersonal psychotherapist or spiritual counselor can help you distinguish between the two, but a medical doctor usually is not trained to differentiate between the spiritual emergency and mental illness. Of course, if you are having an emergency, call 911; otherwise, you can call an expert who will may offer you a free consultation where you can share your experience and find out if you are having spiritual emergency symptoms.
- What’s it like to do spiritual trauma therapy?
Every person is different so it is difficult to tell you exactly what will happen or what the treatment will involve. In general, however, I will first make sure that in therapy you feel safe and at ease. Then, I will show you how to create a strong inner and outer support system to better manage your challenges or difficult spiritual experiences. I will help you understand the underlining causes of the spiritual emergency, I will help you understand why it is happening at this time of your life, I’ll will offer you different options on several possible treatments and you will be able to choose how to go about it. What’s important however, is to remember that these are phenomena that have been studied for decades by transpersonal psychology and that spiritual trauma psychotherapy provides effective treatment.
- How do spiritual emergencies begin?
Most of the time a person can trace a specific event that started his or her a spiritual emergency. This event could be an an intense emotional experience, an operation, a disease, mind-altering drug, extreme physical exertion, giving birth, or an intense sexual experience. In some cases, these can cause spiritual PTSD / trauma.
- Can my spiritual suffering and spiritual crisis have biological origins?
Yes, sometimes it can be exclusively caused by a biological conditions such as, for example, infections, a brain tumor or problems in other organs, electrolyte imbalance, or neurological problems. This is why it is also recommended to include medical examinations when in doubt about of the origin of the crisis.
- Is it possible that spiritual emergencies are triggered by drugs?
Yes, drugs are often a portal to spiritual experiences and sometimes create spiritual emergencies. Usually, however, after the effects of the drugs have passed, the positive or difficult aspects of the spiritual experiences disappear. In some instances, however, they persist for days, weeks, months, or even years. When they persist, it is important to seek help in order to resolve the difficulty.
- I am a Buddhist or an atheist. I do not believe in God.
I work with all belief systems. Deep and difficult spiritual experiences and states of being are experienced by people from all faiths and backgrounds. I help integrate those experiences independently from the belief system and I adapt to your personal belief system.
- Regarding a crisis of faith, if I come to talk to you, I am afraid that I’ll end up leaving my faith. Will you make me leave my faith?
No. It is very important for you to be aware that I am not here to tell you what to do with your faith or to make you leave your faith. In fact, it can be helpful to keep one’s “faith during crisis.” I am here to support you in the direction that you want to go, and show you tools that you can use to find a new way to relate to your faith, if that is what you are looking for. In fact spiritual counseling and spiritual trauma counseling are specialized approaches to help with this challenge.
- I love God, but I am secretly angry at God. Deep down I am afraid that if I talk about those feelings God will punish me or I will leave God.
As strange as it may sound, usually, working through negative feelings toward God leads to more intimacy and love for God. Why? Because, working on negative feelings, resolves the negative feelings. That is the point of facing them. There is actually research behind this. As long as you push away any type of negative feeling, it will stay there repressed in you; however, the moment you begin to face the difficult feeling, by acknowledging it, understanding it, and let yourself have it for a moment, the negative feeling transforms and let’s go of you. In any case, I think you’ll agree with me when I say that God knows your positive and negative feelings; you are the one who hasn’t come to term with them yet. And, there is a way to come to term with them.
- Regarding a crisis of faith, can you help with cult recovery?
Yes, I do help people who have been in cults, who are trying to understand or change their relationship to their cult, or want to leave their cult.
A real life example of spiritual trauma counseling: Conquering spiritual emergency, crisis of faith, and overcoming spiritual PTSD / trauma
Christine (the name and all identifiable factor have been changed) contacted me because she was having difficult spiritual experiences that also caused her to question her relationship to God. Her spiritual experiences were causing her much spiritual pain, confusion, and worry, as well as repeated spiritual trauma. That, led her to believe that God was abandoning her.
In therapy, I first helped Christine find specific ways to manage her strong spiritual difficulties. Then we worked on the underlining causes of her experiences and how to metabolize and integrate them into her everyday life. By facing the strong difficulties, Christine was able to become in contact with a sense of greater peace and well-being which was trying to come through the disruptive spiritual emergency. We also addressed her beliefs and her feelings toward God. In this process, her relationship to God changed from just believing in God to knowing God by feeling God in herself and around her in her life.
Today Christine’s spiritual emergencies and the pain caused by them have ceased. What is left are her positive spiritual experiences which she is continuing to integrate and bring them into her everyday life. Her relationship with God has changed. She feels closer to God, but not in a mental way, but in a palpable experiential way—she feels God instead of merely thinking about God.
Call me for a free consultation or to try a therapy session with me with no financial obligations
As a psychotherapist and spiritual guide I can help you overcome your spiritual crisis, whether it is a spiritual emergency or a crisis of faith and address your spiritual trauma if present. I will help you bring forth the positive aspects of your experience (spiritual emergence), and I will create a strong support system to help you face and overcome the negative and painful aspects of your experience (spiritual emergency).
In my approach, I combine the fields of Western psychology and neuroscience with the wisdom of the Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Moreover, I tailor my approach to your specific needs and make up. This means that, after assessing your specific challenges, I provide precise guidelines to help you in this process, as well as help you discover what works best for you. Together we can find the best solution to face and overcome your spiritual emergencies or crisis of faith, so that you can live a better and much more fulfilling life.
I invite you to give me a call for a free consultation (the phone number is at the very top and bottom of this page), or send me an email to ask questions, set up an appointment, or to discuss the next step you can take to resolve the challenges you may be facing. You can also learn more about me and about what therapy with me looks like.
Regardless if you choose me as your therapist or not, I strongly recommend reading the Free Report “The 3 Keys for Choosing the Right Therapist for You. Learn How to Assess if your Therapy will be Likely to Succeed or not.” (you can download it here). This Free Report aims to empower you as a client by helping you evaluate your therapy and therapist. People have found it very helpful to learn specific ways on how to determine if their therapist is a good fit for them and can really help them, or if they are actually wasting their time because some therapy key-factors are missing and they actually need to change therapist.
“When I contacted you on the phone, I was pleasantly surprised to hear your Italian accent. You warmth and smile were very welcoming. In therapy, you helped me, hands-on, with my challenges with anxiety and depression, which I had been stuck in for years. That gave me hope. I also have to say that, your warm human connection, kind heart, and skills made therapy look like something I was looking forward every week instead of dreading it. In fact, therapy was not heavy despite the difficult feelings I was facing–it was actually restorative. Through your support and my commitment to therapy, I was able to overcome these very difficult challenges. Thank you Igor. I wish people knew that there is hope even when they feels like there isn’t.” Client, Denver CO
“Igor is well trained in cutting-edge, research-based therapies. With his compassionate heart and presence, Igor is gifted at helping clients find resources to face even the most difficult challenges and develop healthier cognitive patterns and behaviors. Clients love Igor’s warmth, openness and innovation.” Tasha Medley MA, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, RPT — Psychotherapist, Boulder, CO
“Igor Giusti is a profoundly gifted healer and spiritual guide. His deep knowledge of different styles of therapy is balanced by an equally deep knowledge of spiritual practice and literature. He really does practice what he teaches – integrating the mind, heart, and body together in a life dedicated to spiritual realization. He has studied extensively and done lengthy retreats. I know personally from working with him and observing him that his clinical perception is extremely precise and his responses very accurate and effective. He has clarity and intelligence, is heartful, caring, and also dedicated, strong, and incisive when needed. I can’t think of a better guide in the process of getting
to know one’s inner nature and bringing it into the world.” Josh Medley MA, NCC, LPC — Psychotherapist, Boulder, CO
“Igor is, first and foremost, a fine, sensitive human being, with a heightened self-awareness as well as a deep sense of compassion for other people. There is also a deep inner quiet about him, perhaps developed in his meditation practice. In addition to these aspects of emotional intelligence, empathy, self-awareness, and presence, he has a fine sense of humor.” Deepesh Faucheux — Adjunct Professor and Psychotherapist, Boulder, CO
“Igor’s greatest gifts are his somatic intelligence and compassionate heart. He is surprisingly attuned to the inner realm of sensations and feelings. He relates to the world from a spiritual and somatic felt sense, rather than from his mind alone. This makes him highly capable in guiding clients to become more embodied, in touch with their feelings, and grounded in their spiritual experiences while living in the world.” Les McAllan PhD — Retired Professor and Psychologist, Prescott AZ
Igor has a warm, open, and attentive presence. His warm listening capacity, keen curiosity, psychological depth, and insight are palpable. Igor is a transpersonally trained psychotherapist with group and individual experience, as well as a participant-explorer in other types of contemplative and psychological intra- and inter-personal work. He has great value for and emphasis on the body and his adept somatic awareness is evident by the way he can articulate—and help others get in touch with and articulate—bodily, emotional, and mental experiences. In general I would say Igor is a
grateful and joyful person. His affectionate and joyful nature make him desirable and delightful to be around. Jason Appt — Assistant Professor and Psychotherapist, Boulder CO