Being Hurt by the Church (Sarah James)

Church Wounds


Unfortunately, the places we are supposed to feel safe and protected can be the very places where we experience pain and abuse. Sadly, the church is not excluded from being one of those places that hurt people.


Signs of misuse of power may create cultures of fear, confusion, or exclusion.


There can be long-lasting effects when church members and leaders mishandle a situation or guide its members in the wrong direction because it often affects our core beliefs about God, religion, and what we believe about ourselves. When leaders use their power for harm, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it can leave us confused and deeply wounded.


If you have been hurt by a church or its members, you are not alone. Feel free to reach out to Sarah for a free 15-minute phone consultation at or 407-815-5076.





Trauma and the Body


Disturbing life events can happen and often they have long-lasting effects on our thoughts and emotions that bombard our everyday life and seem to slow us down or get in the way.


It’s helpful to remember our brain and body are trying to keep us safe.


The brain and the nervous system work together to scan for potential threats. Thank you brain and nervous system for working so hard for our safety! When something bad happens, our brain and body take note of that and watch out for other similar situations that may harm us. This is why we might ‘overreact’ to a situation with strong emotions that seem to come out of nowhere . Or maybe you have a recurring memory that won’t seem to go away or certain sounds or smells that bring you back to a past situation that caused you stress. Our brain and nervous system are sending messages that we are in danger again.


Although your brain is trying to keep you safe, sometimes it can get in the way of healing.  It can intrude on our relationships, career, and even our physical health. I would love to help you walk through any kind of hardship or trauma from your past that you see is affecting your present-day life.  For a free 15-minute phone consultation, please contact Sarah at or 407-815-5076.


Some symptoms of traumatic stress:

  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Irritability
  • Agitated behavior
  • Anxiety and/or depression





EMDR Therapy Facts



  • The American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines for the treatment of patients with Acute Stress Disorder and PTSD include EMDR as an effective treatment.


  • The internal Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designed EMDR as an effective treatment for PTSD.


  • The American Psychology Association has approved EMDR for treating civilian trauma.


  • The World Health Organization included EMDR therapy as recommended for children, adolescents, and adults with PTSD.


  • More than 30 randomized controlled studies have been done on EMDR Therapy.
    • Some of the studies show that 84% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.
    • 100% of the single-trauma victims and 80% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions.
    • Both EMDR and CBT produce a significant reduction in PTSD and behavior problems. EMDR was significantly more efficient, using approximately half the number of sessions to achieve results.


  • Over 100,00 clinicians throughout the world use EMDR.
  • Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.
  • Effective and well supported by research evidence for treating children and adolescents.



EMDR can be used to help

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Attachment issues
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive thoughts and behaviors
  • Rape
  • Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic medical conditions and pain
  • A traumatic event like combat, witnessing a burglary or being in a car accident


If you are struggling with an issue you do not see listed above, feel free to reach out to Sarah to see if EMDR may be an effective therapy for you. Sarah is EMDR trained and provides a 15-minute phone consultation to answer any of your questions. Please contact Sarah at or 407-815-5076.


Parenting after Divorce


Children may internalize chaotic and stressful environments or events. This means that when challenging things arise, developmentally a child cannot make sense of things the way an adult can, and they believe that they are responsible for the parents’ behaviors. They may have an internal voice that says that they are bad and that it is their responsibility to keep the family together. It is not uncommon for children to feel like their parents’ divorce was their fault.


How can parents help their children during a divorce?

  • Communicate in a simple way about the divorce
    • Create an age-appropriate narrative for what is happening
  • Communicate the divorce is not the child’s fault
  • Protect your child from hearing you fight or speak poorly of the other parent
  • Create an environment where the child does not have to choose sides and can maintain relationships with both parents
  • Allow the child to remain a child. They should not be put into the role of the “man of the house.”
  • Use a visual chart/calendar so that young children can see whose house they will be at
  • Avoid asking children to make custody decisions
  • Not be used to relay information to the other parent
  • Not be asked to keep secrets from the other parent


Find more helpful resources from the book, Parenting After Divorce, by Philip M. Stahl.


Sarah comes alongside parents and children to provide support, encouragement, and guidance during any sort of family or environmental changes that may add stress to the parents and children. For a free 15-minute phone consultation, please contact Sarah at or 407-815-5076.


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