Keep up the good work

from Marlene Winell

Greetings to all of you helping people recover from religious damage,

Keep up the good work. As a therapist working with clients in this area, I know that people need all the support they can get. (If you don't know me yet, I've attached a brief bio at the end of this letter.)

Now registering:
An advanced weekend intensive for moving beyond religious indoctrination and reclaiming a life of joy, creativity, and connection. Led by Marlene Winell, Ph.D.

Letting go of your authoritarian religion can be exciting and liberating. At first there are frightening and painful feelings as the process of recovery begins. Then you feel stronger and you realize that you need some personal development to become the person you want to be. This workshop is designed to take you beyond basic healing and help you reconstruct your life in a way that is functional and allows full, confident expression of who you are.

The weekend is a powerful group experience of sharing deeply, exploring liberating concepts, and supporting each other in trying new things. In addition to discussion, we will use experiential methods including art, guided visualization, movement, and role-play. There will also be time for shared meals, relaxation, and fun. Because we are staying together, we will have the chance to get acquainted and begin a lasting support system beyond the weekend. As a special bonus, we will have massage treatments available.

WHEN: FRIDAY, July 28, 7PM until SUNDAY, July 30, 3PM.
WHERE: Berkeley, CA

The closest airport is OAKLAND, and we can help you find transportation from there. The setting is a large wonderful house with hot tub, fireplace, and other amenities.

  1. Telephone discussion with Marlene Winell to determine appropriateness for you,
  2. completion of pre-workshop written exercises.
COST: $320 for the workshop, $120 for housing and meals. Total: $440

A deposit of $100 will secure a space.
Early registration discount: $20 (Full payment by July 15)

Workshop objectives are to help you:
  • Deepen your capacity for self-love and self-care.
  • Appreciate your unique identity and express it.
  • Develop more trust in your own wisdom.
  • Practice the art of "being here now" so you can notice and enjoy this life instead of waiting for the next.
  • Increase joy and celebration of what is.
  • Reclaim pleasure and sexuality.
  • Explore ways to be engaged and connected—to other people & the world.
  • Re-examine spirituality.
  • Develop creativity.
To register or request information, send an email to with your contact information and a bit about why you want to attend.

You will receive more details, a registration form, and written exercises. You can also call 510-292-0509. Register soon to save a place. Group size is limited by design.

About Dr. Winell: Marlene Winell is a psychologist and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies. She grew up in a fundamentalist missionary family, spent some years as a "born-again" Christian, and then went through her own recovery and growth process. She has worked in human services for 30 years and specializes in helping clients who are recovering from religious indoctrination. She is the author of Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion. Her private practice in Berkeley, CA. includes counseling individuals, couples, and groups. She also consults by telephone.

Tel. 510-292-0509


Anonymous said...

At last, a mental health professional specializing in assisting the recovery of those who recognize the dysfunctional and damaging nature of religions! This is something that I think is long overdue and seriously needs more attention.

I became interested in how psychology examines religious practice and mental illness following what is related below this and was only able to find a very old text from the 1950's that addressed the case of a woman who thought she had committed 'the unpardonable sin' and was 'cured' of her neurosis after receiving controversial ECT (electro-convulsive therapy.) I think the mental as well as medical professions need to examine their patients for signs of religion as the culprit in lives that would otherwise be untroubled.

Several years ago a business partnership I was involved in became strongly affected by a senior partner's attempt to return to his spiritual roots following personal, business and health challenges that came one after the other and slowly but surely eroded his sense of capability as a man and productive business member.

The return to 'faith' soon became outright fanaticism which I am sure became an outlet for his obsessive compulsive nature to redirect itself in a vain attempt to 'right' his life. Soon clients were being greeted with my business partner's (I'll call him Bill to spare identity)Biblical quoting, questioning and 'God Bless You's' in concluding ordinary business interactions where religion was not the activity of the moment.

After awhile, he began being sucked deeper into his Seventh Day Adventism complete with 'inner' and 'outer' cleansings. I had never heard of the practice of 'inner cleansings' before in the context of a religion. Soon he had all sorts of literature about his home office and work office covering the religion, practices of 'cleansing' and nutrition.

To make a long story short, the business literally fell apart as clients soon departed and associates confiding that 'Bill's gone off the deep end.'

I later found out through a friend who worked at the VA Hospital and clinics in Napa/St. Helena through the nurses and M.D.s that the Seventh Day Adventists are really 'big' up there and a good portion of those they see with bulimia and other conditions related to the digestive tract are really trauma victims of practices involving 'inner cleansing for religious purposes.' Because this is a religious practice, children who become incontinent in classrooms cannot receive intervention by the authorities because religious acts are rarely covered by law! Apparently the practice of 'family cleansing night' is a weekly practice including at times, friends from church. They massage each others' bellies while praying and even have special gifts of bejeweled 'Holy Enema' bags which they give one another depending if the member is 'new' to the 'fold.'

I can go on about other cases such as teens just discovering their sexual feelings resorting to 'enema play' and being found by police but I think it is understood that now more than ever, the mental and medical communities as well as the law needs to become more active with respect to the harmful beliefs (recall, 'believe' is a word with a 'lie' in the middle of it) and practices.

Let the healing begin!

Anonymous said...

PS: Dr. Winnell On the subject of the religious 'inner cleansing' I forgot to add that the saddest report of educational and medical professionals who 'know' about this, are children and young adults who become bulimic as a result of the additional ways the 'inner cleansing'/enema is used and this starts apparently with very young children for many reasons justified by the religious practice! It is not unheard of for a parent to use the enema as a discipline as well as a 'reward' for the child. Can any medical professional imagine after knowing this why there is so much dyfunction with the simple act of eating and natural bodily functions? There was one young woman who worked at the VA clinic where my friend worked who was a known bulimic who died. She refused to eat partly so she could be 'clean' no doubt since to stay 'clean' meant not to have to defecate or undergo an 'inner cleansing' procedure.

Please, as a concerned medical professional who has undertaking the treatment of the dysfunction and damage of religious practices, this is an area that needs to be exposed since it is part and parcel of religions. I have been told that it is not only Seventh Day Adventists, but other sects of Christianity as well including offshoots of Baptists and even Eastern Religions. I am aware that Egyptians were among the earliest practitioners of enemas and surely they had their religions.

Anonymous said...

If I had the money, I'd like to go to something like that. I'm not much of a people person, but I would imagine just being around people who've gone through the deconversion stage (in real life) could be a cleansing experience in itself.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of whining yanks!! And of course the next step is a clinic for only $440US. You gotta love it, “only in America.”

The US certainly produces a lot of pollutants like Copeland, Hinn and the other billion dollar preachers, sucking the blood out of brain dead audiences. And most of the arguments put up on this site are about as convincing as your beloved TV evangelists.

Ask God to feed the world, He didn’t, he must not exist. Give me $10, that will prove there are no Christians. I don’t like the way I think God behaves, therefore He can’t be real. They criticised me. I understand everything, modern man is smarter than every other generation and of course I’m an American god damn it which makes me smarter than everyone else. If God doesn’t fit in your box He just can’t exist.

You people are not ex-christians you are ex-“fundys”. The other side of the same coin. The people you hate and abuse are exactly like you.

Don’t worry you can all be healed here. “Put your hands on the computer, feel the healing power, make a donation, come to a clinic.” Does that sound familiar? I love it, “It’s OK, let it out, we’re here to listen, venting helps heal.”

Webmaster Dave has achieved celebrity status, an online guru, putting all his Christian education to use. He has it completely together, follow him. All that hard work paid off, you made it happen Dave, dreams and ambitions do come true.

For those people who have been molested and mistreated for God sake seek serious counselling. Go to the police, press charges and have the bastards locked up.

Dave Van Allen said...

Thanks for your "True Christian™" comments blueblood.

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