Spiritual Abuse Recovery: Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness

by Barbara M. Orlowski. Wipf and Stock, 2010.
Large spiritual abuse recovery

A pastoral spiritual abuse experience led Barbara Orlowski to focus her doctoral research and this resulting work on the complex and often-neglected topic of spiritual abuse by clergy and lay-leaders, and how parishioners recover from it. Orlowski interviews clergy and laity in her work and discusses the dynamics of spiritual abuse at length. Orlowski candidly discusses the relationship between spiritual abuse and religious traditions that have authoritarian and hierarchical governance structures. Also included are a review of the scholarly literature on the subject of spiritual abuse and a chapter on relevant biblical texts that inform appropriate church governance. Lastly, Orlowski relays successful patterns of healing and recovery for victims. Orlowski’s perspective is Christian, and Christians will be most comfortable with Orlowski’s language. However, clergy and laity from a variety of religious traditions will find Orlowski’s findings and suggestions helpful, illuminating, and as appropriate cautions for their own behavior.