Monday, December 26, 2022

How You Pick Your College Could Cost You Lots (Mark Salisbury, TuitionFit*)

[Editor's Note:  Mark Salisbury will be appearing at the Future Trends Forum on Thursday, January 12, 2023, from 2-3 PM EST.  To sign up as an audience member, visit the link at Students, families, colleges, and tuition - Shindig.comUpcoming Forum sessions – The Future Trends Forum (

No matter if it’s cars or candy bars, every marketplace has one thing in common. The seller hopes to influence the buyer’s decision by appealing to their emotions. That’s the best way to get the buyer to pay more than they would otherwise. But the buyer knows that if they can keep their emotions in check and stick to a rational comparison of pros and cons, they have a better chance of paying less than they would otherwise. In every marketplace, underneath the layers of give and take, ebb and flow, sturm und drang, the battle between the rational and the emotional – the head and the heart – rages on.

There’s no better place to watch this epic struggle play out than college admissions. Colleges and universities spend billions every year trying to find just the right emotional trigger. The idea of the “dream” college experience has been stitched into our psyche by popular culture for more than a hundred years, and colleges and universities have no problem subtly (and sometimes overtly) pointing out how much their campus looks like that idyllic dream school. Mix in a healthy dose of FOMO (fear of missing out) by telling folks all the reasons why applying early makes everything better, and you have yourself a powerful cocktail of emotional allure.

But hold on a second! Why go to college? Isn’t going to college – surviving the inevitable ups and downs and making the financial sacrifices required to pay for it – about something more than just four years of fun?

Of course it is. The goal is to learn a lot, grow a lot, graduate on time, and head off into young adulthood with a job that pays well enough to live independently and plan for the future. To hit all of those milestones in order, the college decision has to be heavily influenced by rational considerations. Which college cultivates an environment that is most likely to foster success and growth? Which college provides the best “bang for the buck”? Which college offers the support systems necessary to help students when they struggle?

So here’s one way to push through the cacophony of marketing and angst-inducing urgency messaging that you’ll encounter throughout the college admissions process. Ask yourself the question: is this college’s marketing, and the way they are trying to communicate their message to me, designed to make me think more rationally or react more emotionally? Just knowing which trigger a college is trying to pull will help you keep calm when things get crazy, be confident when you feel overwhelmed, and keep your feet squarely on the ground when you need to make the right decision.

Related link: How TuitionFit Works

*Mark Salisbury is CEO of TuitionFit and Executive Director of My College Planning Team.  This article originally appeared at MCPT Blog.  

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR): Helping Professionals Deal With Religious Trauma


Christian Authoritarianism is a significant social issue in 21st century American culture, a throwback to the hypocrisy, intolerance, and abuse of yesteryear.  Along with this abuse comes a psychological price: religious trauma.  The problem is real, and the consequences can be severe. 

Darren M. Slade, President of the Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR), has organized an important resource for professionals working with religious trauma.  

The Global Center for Religious Research has established the world's first and most comprehensive psychiatric research group to study the causes, manifestations, and treatment options for those suffering from "religious trauma" (RT). Religious Trauma can look like:

*Deep or chronic shame about being personally responsible for Christ's death, being a sinner, or not living up to expectations​​
*Feelings of unworthiness, being unlovable, or bad in some way​​​
*Fear of rejection by God or the faith community
*Lack of self-compassion

*Lack of personal autonomy - an ingrained belief that one's life is for God's sole purpose, leading to challenges making decisions, creating personal boundaries and providing intentional consent
*Feeling that they can't trust themselves, their body or their emotions​​

*Growing up with chronic fear or anxiety around salvation, rapture, Hell, Satan, or demons
*Superstitious beliefs about what will lead to positive and negative outcomes in life
*Perfectionism or hyper-vigilance - fear of making mistakes
*Extreme dualistic thinking - judging every individual thought and action as "good" or "bad"
*Spiritual bypassing - denying the presence and validity of mental health issues due to a belief that those feelings come from Satan or a lack of faith and if they pray enough or are favored then God will take it away​​
*Difficulty with experiencing pleasure​​
*Feeling bad or wrong for having sexual thoughts or feelings, or having physical reactions to sexual situations such as crying or feeling a disconnection from the body
*Denying sexuality
*Lasting trauma from conversion therapy

GCRR has built an international team of licensed psychiatrists, therapists, sociologists, university professors, religion scholars, and Ph.D. candidates from around the world, all who specialize in the field of trauma research.

GCRR's Religious Trauma Studies certificate includes 30 lectures to learn about the effects of shame, perceived failure, and self-criticism, how religious trauma affects the nervous system, understanding developmental religious trauma, EMDR and entheogenic therapies in treating religious trauma, and best therapeutic techniques in supporting patients suffering from religious trauma.*

Lectures include: 

1. "How Religious Trauma Affects the Nervous System and Body" (Elizabeth Wilson, LPC, LAC) 

2. "A Twisting of the Sacred: The Lived Experience of Religious Abuse" (Paula Swindle, PhD & Craig Cashwell, PhD) 

3. "Power and Control Dynamics" (Gill Harvey, PhD) 

4. "Religious Abuse and the Trauma of Perceived Spiritual Failure" (Janyne McConnaughey, PhD) 

5. "Faith, Doubt, and Gatekeeper Trauma" (Brian D. McLaren) 

6. "Developmental Religious Trauma"(Gill Harvey, PhD) 

7. "Bereavement and Bad Theology: A Toxic Cocktail" (Teri Daniel, DMin, CT, CCTP) 

8. "Religious Shame, Self-Criticism, and Mitigating Effects of Self-Compassion" (Mark Karris, LMFT, PsyD) 

9. "The Effectiveness of Using EMDR in Trauma Treatment" (Arielle Sokoll-Ward, LCSW) 

10. "Entheogenic Therapies for Religious Trauma and Disaffiliation" (Kelby Bibler)

11. “What's the Harm: A Glimpse of My Life After Catholicism?” by Jenna Belk, host of Atheistasis Podcast

12. “Gay the Pray Away” by Rev. Erika Allison (Interfaith & LGBTQIA+ Minister and Conversion Therapy Survivor)

13. “Drama Trauma: How Contemporary American Playwrights Reveal Religious Trauma” by Pamela Monaco, PhD (Interim Vice President, Wilbur Wright College)

14. "“The Sacredness of Trauma: Equipping Congregations to Bear Witness” by Elizabeth Power, MEd (International Best-Selling Author and Expert in Trauma-Responsive Systems)

15. “Healing Hell Trauma: Pychological Treatment for Religious Indoctrination in Fear of Hell” by Andrew Jasko, MDiv (Religious Trauma Specialist and Coach)

16. “Healing Religious Trauma Through Psychedelics” by Andrew Jasko, MDiv (Religious Trauma Specialist and Coach)

17. “Religious Trauma and the Later in Life LGBTQIA+ Community” by Anne-Marie Zanzal MDiv (Coming Out Coach, Storyteller and Author)

18. “Religion-Induced Transient Childhood OCD: Two Case Studies” by Urte Laukaityte, M.Sc. (PhD Candidate, UC Berkeley)

19. “Fowler’s Stages of Faith Development and Their Relation to Post-Traumatic Growth” by Teri Daniel, DMin, CT, CCTP (Inter-spiritual Hospice Chaplain, Grief Counselor and Adjunct Instructor)

20.“Departing a Religion: Supporting Those in Grief” by Kara Bowman, MFT (Certified Grief Counselor, Certified Thanatologist, Certified Trauma Therapist)

21. “Cultivating a Uniquely LGBT Spirituality After Religious Trauma” by Tarrin Anderson, MA (Spiritual Director, MA Depth Psychology)

22.“Chewed Up Gum and Broken Rose Petals: Problematizing Purity Culture in Evangelical Christianity” by Katelynn Steinhauser (Graduate Student in English Writing and Rhetoric, Texas Woman's University)

23. “Developmental Religious Trauma: When the Personal Story and Research Topic Align” by Gill Harvey, DPsych (Therapeutic Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer)

24.. “How Religious Trauma Hits Home” by Rebekah Drumsta, MA, CPLC (Spiritual Abuse Advocate, Author, Consultant, Coach)

25. “Five Spiritual Practices that Re-Traumatize the Traumatized” by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD (Attachment and Trauma Network, Board President)

26. “The Effect of Adverse Religious Experiences on Women’s Health: A Proposed Grounded Theory Study within the Theoretical Framework of the Roy Adaptation Model” by Beth Schwartz, MS (Professor of Nursing, UCLA )

27. “Understanding Religious Trauma through the Internal Family Systems Model” by Jenna Riemersma, LPC, CSAT-S, CMAT-S, NCC (#1 Best-Selling Author and Founder/Clinical Director of the Atlanta Center for Relational Healing)

28. "Religious Trauma and the LDS-Mormon Faith" by Melissa Walker

29. “Reclaiming Spirituality After Religious Trauma” by Andrew Jasco

30. "Christofascism and Religious Trauma" by Carolyn Baker

*EMDR is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy.  Entheogenic therapies refer to plant-derived psychoactive substances.  

 For more information, visit the Global Center for Religious Research at