Thoughts for the New Year

In thinking about the new year, I was reminded that in leaving religion, everything is new. The adjustments related to losing comforts are quite serious but the liberating elements are profound as well. In essence, “reclaimers” go through a massive paradigm shift. I wrote about this in my chapter in the forthcoming volume, The Oxford Handbook of Secularism. The following is from that writing.

Paradigm Shift

To borrow the language of philosopher and historian of science, Thomas Kuhn, an individual … Continue Reading

Honor the Child

The Christmas season is often busy and complicated with families and schedules and special events. There are standard criticisms of materialism and holiday angst. Yet at the center of it all there is a powerful image that speaks to all of us – the Child. It’s fascinating to me that once a year so many people stop everything, or at least pause, to acknowledge a Child.

But who is this Child of Christmas and why does the image have such power? … Continue Reading

Announcing next retreat!

San Francisco, March 10-13, 2017.  To discuss attending, book a free consultation with Marlene Winell on this site.

Dealing with Religious Family Over the Holidays

At this time of year it’s hard to avoid dealing with the differences you have with your family. If you are a “reclaimer” (reclaiming your life after being religious) who has been raised in a religious household, holiday times can be very uncomfortable when other family members are still devout.  Having worked through these issues with many clients, here are a few guidelines that might be helpful.

I’ll start by suggesting you write in a journal, starting now and continuing through … Continue Reading

Election Affecting Relationships

This Trump debacle is affecting people’s relationships. People are angry and scared and unfortunately, feelings are getting misplaced. The election is hijacking personal bonds.
I can give you several examples. A mother and daughter are facing a split because the daughter is so upset that her mother voted for Trump. Someone else lost several friends because she … Continue Reading

The Election

This election has been understandably disturbing for many. We were worried Trump might win but the reality is worse. I read that Trump-as-sexual-predator has been triggering for women who have been abused. I think triggering is also happening for people who have experienced authoritarian men in spiritual positions of power (as well as other positions of power). Trump can be seen as a cult-like leader, such as explained here. Now we have a charismatic president-elect who was elected by … Continue Reading

Mental Illness Happy Hour

Last week, I had the interesting experience of attending a recording of the podcast, Mental Illness Happy Hour (Yes, that’s what it’s called) with Paul Gilmartin.  This is a podcast hosted by a comedian but addressing serious issues of mental illness like depression and anxiety, particularly among people in the arts.  The episode I attended in Oakland was with the guest Jamie DeWolf, great grandson of Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard.  Jamie is a writer, filmmaker, and entertainer.  … Continue Reading

Hats Off to the Courageous

Reclaimers1, you are the pioneers. Reclaimers discard their confining religions and free their minds from the cages made in churches. I support you, I help you, but most of all, I salute you. Because it is clear to me after many years of bearing witness to the soul-wrenching work that you do, when I have seen and heard tears and sobs and anger and fear, that you are the ones among us in our world that are birthing yourselves. Most … Continue Reading

Childhood Religious Indoctrination

A GRAPH Childhood Indoctrination color

Factors in Childhood Indoctrination in Fundamentalist Christianity

From this graphic, it should be clear that a child in a fundamentalist Christian environment faces a powerful array of factors influencing indoctrination. Many of these techniques are quite deliberate, such as keeping children at home for their schooling to control what they learn and don’t learn.  The primary goal of sincere Christian parents is to pass on their … Continue Reading