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I approach therapy with a simple question: 

"What do you want out of life, and what is holding you back from that?" 

This question, and your answers, is where we begin the journey. I look forward to hearing from you.

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A Living Letter to the Church Living on Turtle Island

An explanation of how my relationship with God, myself, and my theology are changing.

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This blog is written as a living resource to help you on your journey.

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The Enneagram shows us our lens for the world: what is most important to us as we grow spiritually and what we need as we heal from religious trauma.

Quick Enneagram 101

If you're new to the Enneagram, or need a refresher, here are the 9 main types:

  1. Want to be responsible, be better, to make things right
  2. Want to be connected and helpful
  3. Want to succeed and be recognized
  4. Want to be unique and understood
  5. Want to know and understand
  6. Want to be loyal and safe
  7. Want to make life interesting and fun
  8. Want to have control over their lives
  9. Want to have inner and outer harmony

For more basics about the Enneagram - what it is and how to find your type, read my article here.

Enneagram and Deconstruction

There are several layers of the Enneagram that I think are helpful for understanding your changing relationship with god/religion/spirituality, as well as healing from religious trauma.

I am including A LOT of information in this article. Feel free to take as much as you want and come back for more later. You can also reach out to me with questions, or to schedule a session to talk through what this means for you personally. I may also create a mini-course around this content in the future to break it down into more manageable bites.

*I want to emphasize that the information about each style in relation to deconstruction are hypotheses I'm exploring, and I would love to hear from you what it's actually been like for you to provide the most accurate information. You are the expert on yourself. These frameworks are just to give you clarity about what you already know is true. Anything that doesn't feel like it fits, doesn't fit.*

Thinking/Feeling/Doing Triads

Each number fits into one of the main 3 ways of interacting with the world. Thinking, Feeling, and Doing. We all have all three. We all need all three to be balanced. And at the same time, we each have one that feels the most natural and that we go to first to understand and interact with ourselves and the world around us.

Enneagram Triads (image from

Types 8,9,1 are Body or Doing Types

I hypothesize that people in this triad are more likely to deconstruct in their bodies first. With embodiment work, healing from purity culture and embracing sexuality and erotic energy. Healing the body is the first step to healing.

Anger is primary emotion

Embracing anger as medicine rather than an emotion to be suppressed may also be an important part of this healing since anger is a primary emotion in processing their experiences.

Autonomy is primary need

These types may emphasize the need for space, self-determination, and boundaries in their spiritual transition.

Types 2,3,4 are Feeling or Heart Types

I theorize that these types start their healing with their emotions - reclaiming all emotions as good, living and embracing all their emotions. Healing their inner child, their identities, and the shame they feel is key to starting the healing process.

Shame is primary emotion

These types internalize shame as their core wound and core state. Knowing that they are good at their core and can shed the shame may be a key factor in their healing and growth.

Attention is primary need

In this triad, grieving relationships and communities they've lost may be the focus. And needing to restore their relationship with self is going to be a huge part of their healing. It is also helpful to think through how their attachment with god/religion/spirituality is changing.

Types 5,6,7 are Thinking or Head Types

I am guessing that these types start their healing by examining and deconstructing their beliefs. When the beliefs of the evangelical/fundamental system no longer make sense, they start questioning and pulling on the thread that unravels their rigid belief system. Confronting the fear of the high-control system and letting it go may be the primary way of starting the healing process.

Fear is primary emotion

In this triad, there is a focus on avoiding or neutralizing fear. Because they are head types, the fears may have taken the form of fear of eternal torment, thinking/believing something wrong, and conflating beliefs with identity. These types may need to re-establish personal authority instead of looking for outside authority and credibility, or find healthier, less rigid information sources to inform their changing beliefs.

Security is primary need

These types may need to re-establish where their security comes from and find a new equilibrium. They may need to focus on establishing eternal and external security as a main part of their healing process.

Social Styles

Social Styles (Image from

The Social Style is the strategy each type uses to get it’s needs met.

Types 3,7,8 are the Initiator/Assertive Style:

Stereotypically they might think: I am the center of the activity, I’m what’s important here. I take action first instead of waiting for others.

In deconstruction, these types may be louder about their deconstruction and take action quickly once they've decided about the changes they want to make.

Types 1,2,6 are the Cooperator/Dutiful Style:

Stereotypically they might think: I am here to be of service - How can I meet others’ expectations? How can I be responsible?

These types may have to release responsibility for others' feelings about their faith transition, and focus on cooperating with and being loyal to themselves first over their evangelical community.

Types 4,5,9 are the Soloist/Withdrawn Style

Stereotypically they might think: I am not a part of what’s going on, I’m different, I don’t fit in, I need time away before I can reconnect.

In spiritual growth, these types may need time away in quiet, contemplative practices, and the freedom to not have to explain themselves yet.

Harmonic Groups

The Harmonic Groups show how each person copes when they do not get what they want. They reveal the fundamental way our personality defends against loss and disappointment. They show the way we cope with conflict and difficulty.

Character Dynamics: Relationships & Conflict Explored Through the Enneagram  – Story Sketch
Image from

Types 2,7,9 are the Positive Outlook Group

They focus on their good intentions (2's), positive experiences (7's), and the good in their environment (9's).

In deconstruction, these types defend against disappointment by avoiding seeing certain things clearly:

- 2's: their own neediness, disappointment, and anger

- 7's: their pain and emptiness

- 9's: problems with their loved ones and environment

To find full healing, each type will need to face what they've been avoiding and give themselves space to grieve.

Types 1,3,5 are the Competency Group

Each type in this group wants to be competent in different ways:

- 1's by being correct, organized, reasonable, sensible

- 3's by being efficient, capable, and outstanding

- 5's by being the expert and maintaining detachment and clarity

In deconstruction, each type tries to manage feelings by:

- 1's: repression and denial. This leads to rigidity in the body. 1's tend to want to work within the system and be good in the system's eyes. To heal they will want to focus on their innate goodness apart from a system or rules, or at least finding a healthier, less rigid system to evaluate themselves by.

- 3's: repression and focus on achievement. They look to others for feelings cues. 3's want to work with the system to a point. They may want to take some time away to go inside and check out their own feelings as a part of their healing.

- 5's: abstracting feelings, emotional detachment, cerebral processing. 5's like to be outside of the system's rules. Paying attention to the feelings and body cues they have will help them process through not only the doctrinal changes but the way their transition is impacting them.

Types 4,6,8 are the Reactive Outlook Group

They look for a rescuer, understanding, support, and self-reliance.

- 4's especially want someone to understand and see them.

- 6's want to both be the strong one and have support.

- 8's want to need others as little as possible.

In deconstruction, each type tries to deal with their fears:

4's fear they will be abandoned so they try to hold on to supporters, possibly playing hard to get. In their healing they may want to strengthen and embrace the level of support and allegiance they have in themselves.

6's fear they will be abandoned but also fear becoming too dependent on others. 6's can struggle with self-doubt, and can learn in their healing to trust themselves as a credible authority and a loyal self-supporter.

8's fear they will be controlled. Intimacy and vulnerability by caring too much can feel scary. 8's healing can include welcoming, or at least making peace with, their need for connection and support for full healing. Finding a new, supportive, low-control environment may be a big part of their healing.


The 3 instincts and what they focus on:


  • Health & Wellness
  • Resource Management
  • Home/Nesting

This instinct is the most cautious. People with this instinct may take longer to examine things, think through cost/benefits, and make decisions. They may avoid taking the risk of making changes in their community and beliefs until it is necessary. It may also feel to this instinct like people who are changing quickly are making "rash decisions." However, when they do decide to take action, they are excellent at being prepared. They may need to focus on their personal wellness, and making their home a comforting place as part of their healing process.


  • Reading & Interpreting
  • Bonding & Affiliating
  • Contributing to the Group

This instinct will focus on how the community around them is interacting. Is everyone meshing and working together? Is this social system working, fixable, or broken? They may be aware of the power structures in the community - how authoritarian it is, and if power is being misused, for example. They may also be attuned to each person's roles in the social system. Leaving this system and starting from scratch may feel like a huge relief or terrifying, when that is how you know your place in the world. People in this instinct are especially equipped to begin and support new healing communities because they are so good at creating bonds among a group.


  • Risk-taking
  • Broadcasting
  • Immersion/Fusion

This instinct is the most likely to take risks and move quickly. They may be the first to leave an unhealthy system or be willing to question or try on new beliefs. They can let those that need more time know what it's like on the other side. They also need to be cautious of jumping into similar groups with charismatic leaders. This instinct can learn from the other two how to take enough time and listen to their inner cues of safety before they commit to another group/community.

Healing Core Wounds

We all have certain beliefs about ourselves that we formed in childhood.  Part of the way we form our personality is by reacting to these beliefs in such a way that we feel better about ourselves.  Here are the core wounding messages for each number and the lost messages that bring healing.

In healing from the religious wounds we've experienced, these core beliefs can inform some of our journey. I think we all need to recover the lost childhood messages of healing, but the one that matches your type may be especially important to pay attention to.

  1. It's not okay to make mistakes > You are good
  2. It's not okay to have your own needs > You are wanted
  3. It's not okay to have your own feelings and identity > You are loved for yourself
  4. It's not okay to be too functional or too happy > You are seen for who you are
  5. It's not okay to be comfortable in the world > Your needs are not a problem
  6. It's not okay to trust yourself > You are safe
  7. It's not okay to depend on anyone for anything > You will be taken care of
  8. It's not okay to be vulnerable or to trust anyone > You will not be betrayed
  9. It's not okay to assert yourself > Your presence matters

(Riso and Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram p. 31, 34)

Making Sense of Your Healing Journey

What was it like to see that others are walking through their deconstruction in similar ways? To have some clarity about why you've experienced a certain kind of pain through your envolvement with evanglicalism, and have a specific path for healing? I hope it is comforting and enlightening. I would love to support you in your journey. Email me to share your experience and schedule a session to work through this more.

Spiritual Evolution + the Enneagram

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My body is... an object to manage?

How do we treat our bodies?

  • manage them
  • fix them
  • limit them
  • control them
  • tame them
  • work them
  • disconnect from them
  • shame them
  • judge them
  • push them harder

We disconnect from our bodies and treat them like objects, like tools, to meet our other needs:

  • to feel like we belong
  • to feel approved of
  • to feel competent
  • to avoid shame
  • to fit into a group
  • to feel emotionally filled up
  • to avoid painful feelings

What if instead of working our bodies till they fit the image we want, we find another way?

My Body is Me

What if we use different words to relate to our bodies? What if we treat them like we treat our friends? With love and compassion. With understanding and support. Then we would use other words.

Words like:

  • know
  • understand
  • listen
  • befriend
  • support

What if your body became a friend instead of an enemy? Something to support instead of something to manage?

How would your life be different?

You can still make your plans to work out more and eat healthier. Those might be great goals for you. Just check in with your body first. And keep checking in with your body. One day you might need more sleep instead of time at the gym. Your body will let you know what it needs if you listen to it. 

Last year, when I listened to my body, what kept coming to the surface was the word Ease. My intention for that year became ease in my body - less tension, anxiety, etc. Through my personal growth work, that has happened. And it’s amazing. What would it be like to choose an intention like that for yourself?

Loving My Body

To begin changing your relationship with your body, start with the poem: Dear Body, I’m sorry, I love you by Hillary McBride. (Then get her book The Wisdom of Your Body - it is a must read for anyone wanting a more embodied life.)

What do you want to tell your body? What does it want to tell you? Can you decide together what is best for you instead of imposing unrealistic expectations on it?

I’d love to hear about what your body is telling you, or what you’d like to say to your body. Just email me. I’d love to hear it.

p.s. If you want more resources, here are some books and people to follow:

I Am My Body

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I will not abandon or contort myself, assimilate or hide myself, reprimand or harshly judge myself anymore. I will love and have compassion for myself.

Trust the Authority of Scripture?

I was recently reminded of how the evangelical church emphasizes trusting in the authority of Scripture first and only. And it brought up a lot for me. What comes up for you when you hear the phrase “authority of Scripture?”

In this mindset, Scripture is the plumb line, the only thing to measure everything by. This might bring up good feelings and bad feelings. It brings up both for me. I have some memories of warm feelings as a kid from seeing my dad lead us in what he identified as a principled life based on the Bible. As his dad did before him. 

But it also feels stifling, and wrong somehow. That’s because it’s been weaponized in so many ways.

Both internally: there is no space for trusting in the sacred knowing you have inside

...and externally: against many marginalized peoples.

You can read more about how the “authority of Scripture” has been weaponized here.

The Journey of Self-Trust

As I’ve been making this journey to trusting myself over many years now, I am at the point where listening to my inner knowing has to be first. It is essential to belong to myself and honor myself. 

I will not abandon or contort myself, assimilate or hide myself, reprimand or harshly judge myself anymore. I will love and have compassion for myself.

But there were many points along the way. These were some of my points:

  • One was making space for myself while also making sure I wasn’t going outside the confines of Christian beliefs. I saw a spiritual director to help me navigate this time in my life where I was triggered by all the old ways of connecting with god and I didn’t know how to stay on the path.
  • I moved to a church where it was okay to be messy, and there was a lot of creativity and mystery allowed in worship. I connected with new practices. The ones that resonated with me the most were contemplative practices, embodied worship practices, restful retreats, and healing prayer.
  • I got married and moved to another church - a church that honored asking questions. No questions were bad questions. They did not have the evangelical emphasis on piety (right behavior), or judgment if someone’s beliefs were “right.” That has been freeing. There’s no guilt-ing there.
  • Now I’m centering my questions differently. If something dishonors me or doesn’t create space for me, it’s not for me.
  • I am letting go of god-notions that make me feel small, weak, or like a victim of narcissistic abuse.

What it looks like for me now is letting go of…

  • A hierarchical god (no more God the King)
  • A patriarchal god (no more Male only God)
  • A white supremacy god (no more benevolent/judgmental Master/Lord)
  • A parental figure god (no more authoritarian Father God)

This may feel freeing to see me write this,

…it may have just made you bristle with suspicion and worry, 

…or you may have been here a long time and glad I’m finally here with you. 

It’s okay no matter how you feel. You don’t need to agree with me. You don’t need to be where I’m at or ever be where I’m at. You need to be where you’re at. A place where you can find safety and secure connection to yourself first, then possibly safety and spirituality together.

Where have you been in your journey? Where are you now?

I love What the Road Said by Cleo Wade. It is so simple and so profound. Listen to the author read it below. Follow your path with courage and curiosity. 

#BNStorytime: Cleo Wade presents WHAT THE ROAD SAID

Please email me and let me know where you are on the journey. Consider joining my group to walk this journey together.

I Can Trust Myself

I will not abandon or contort myself, assimilate or hide myself, reprimand or harshly judge myself anymore. I will love and have compassion for myself.

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Where Do I Find A Sense of Belonging?

I want to give you permission to have all your feelings about where you are told you belong, where you truly belong, and where you want to belong.

When showing up a certain way is a prerequisite for belonging, your whole, beautiful, messy, wild self cannot thrive and belong.

For me, the most important belonging is belonging to myself. 

If I don't belong to myself, I can't truly connect with anyone else. Connection with others that does not honor myself will always veer to the codependent, anxious, withdrawn, dismissive, superficial, or aloof.

There was such a long period of time in my life when the trade-off for belonging (i.e. being warmly accepted) meant not fully belonging to myself. I side-stepped precious parts of myself in order to be accepted by family, God, and my church community. Much of my adult life has been a journey back to myself. To let all those parts of me belong. 

There is some readjustment of outside relationships, but it’s worth it to fully belong to myself. And the relationships I choose to create now are ones that do fully embrace my whole self. For example I love it when my husband tells me: You Do You. That’s right, I will.

"I belong every place. I belong no place. I belong to myself."

(Paraphrase of Maya Angelou)

I love the thoughts Brené Brown gathered about belonging and fitting in:

  • Belonging is being somewhere where you want to be, and they want you. Fitting in is being somewhere where you want to be, but they don’t care one way or the other.
  • Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.
  • If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in. 

(Braving the Wilderness p.160)

Part of the reason I love being a therapist and self-trust coach is that I get to give the gift of real belonging. Good therapy gives you the space to be real, messy, and all of who you are. And you are met with open arms, radical acceptance, and support.

Bring all your messy, wild, wonderful self. You belong.

If you’re looking for a place to belong, and recover from your religious upbringing at the same time, check out my Trust Yourself Again Group.

I Belong to Myself

I used to side-step precious parts of myself in order to be accepted by family, God, and my church community. My adult life has been a journey back to myself.

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The Word of God = Weapon

Growing up, evangelicals were taught the “word of God” was a sword. Right? Anyone remember that verse?

Ephesians 6:17: “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (NIV)

I saw lots of depictions of what a good soldier of Christ would look like wearing the armor of God, including the sword of the Spirit. I guarantee I did not learn about how “scripture” has been weaponized against marginalized people throughout history.

I do remember hearing at some point that the Nazis used a version of the Bible to justify their atrocities. But I had no idea until recently the extent to which Americans have used the Bible to justify our own atrocities. (Which is part of the white privilege I have had throughout my life. Although from a white person, it feels good to know where the rottenness I feel comes from. To have the truth.)

Scriptural Orthodoxy = Weapon

For today, I’m just going to connect how the “authority of the Bible” was used to justify the Civil War.  The Bible has been used to champion so many horrible practices against black and brown bodies in this country, they are too many to cover in one blog post, but I will continue to write about them.

I have been learning from Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise, and that is where I encountered this quote: 

Southern Methodist preacher J.W. Tucker is speaking to Confederates in 1862: “‘Your cause is the cause of God, the cause of Christ, of humanity. It is a conflict of truth with error - of Bible with northern infidelity- of pure Christianity with northern fanaticism.’” In sum, “they made acceptance of race-based chattel slavery a requirement of biblical orthodoxy” (Tisby 80-81).

This blew my mind.

Is this not what is still happening today, over and over? There is so much uproar over interpreting the Bible literally and correctly from conservatives. Using the language of the “purity of the gospel” to hide the ugly truth of what’s happening. 

Interpreting the Bible “correctly” in the South during the Civil War became synonymous with upholding slavery. It is still used to uphold “law and order” and to criminalize black and brown bodies.

Scriptural Orthodoxy = Litmus Test

Additional victims these days are from a different marginalized group: LGBTQIA.

Scripture has become not only a weapon to keep queer people out of evangelical churches and condone homophobia, it has also become a litmus test: you have to believe “that homosexuality is a sin” in order to believe in the truth of the Bible. It's a way to police who's in and who's out. Who's right and who's wrong. It’s the same abusive story told about another group of people.

I want you to see that this tactic of using “Scriptural orthodoxy” as a weapon and as a litmus test has been around in the United States since it’s conquest-laden foundations, and continues today. (It has also been around since Christianity’s rise into Empire - so many people were labeled heretics and then exiled or killed.)

This can be really overwhelming. All your feelings about it are okay. Take some time to journal about it. I want to give you the gift of ending with Maya Angelo’s “Still I Rise.” The weaponizing is not the end. Be a part of the Rising. 'Still I Rise' by Maya Angelou (Live performance)

p.s. For another kind of Rising, check out Glennon Doyle’s "Together Rising" to take some action today.

Scripture as a Weapon

What your Sunday school teaches never taught you

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