top of page
Image by Ana Bórquez

Conference on Religious Trauma

Is on hiatus while we hold the Shameless Sexuality Conference



In previous years, we have had speakers such as: 


Gillie Jenkinson, PhD

Gillie Jenkinson, PhD, is an accredited psychotherapist, international speaker and Director of Hope Valley Counselling. For over 25 years she has specialized, as a therapist and researcher, in the challenges faced by those who have experienced coercive, cultic, and spiritual abuse. She created ‘Post-Cult Counselling’ for those who experience religious trauma in a cultic religion and trains therapists in its use. She is a former member of a Bible-based cultic group. Gillie’s book ‘Walking Free from the Trauma of Coercive, Cultic and Spiritual Abuse: A Workbook for Recovery and Growth’ will be published by Routledge in May 2023.


Dr. Darrel Ray

Dr. Ray is the founder and President of the Board of Directors of Recovering from Religion. He has been a psychologist for over thirty years and is the author of four books: two on organizational teamwork as well as "The God Virus-How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture" and "Sex and God-How Religion Distorts Sexuality".


Dr. Ray has been a student of religion most of his life and holds a Masters Degree in religion as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology/Anthropology with a Doctorate in Psychology.


Danielle Kramer

Bio: Dr. Danielle Kramer (she/they) is a certified sex therapist and board-certified clinical sexologist who splits their time between clinical practice, research, consulting. In clinical practice Dr. Kramer specializes in the care of LGBTQ+ folks and women’s/AFAB (assigned female at birth) folks. Dr. Kramer was raised in purity culture and devotes a significant amount of their practice to working with religious and sexual trauma, as well as being the only certified sex therapist in the Florida Panhandle providing gender affirming care. In research Dr. Kramer focuses on misogyny in the US, abortion care and access, and AFAB sexual health. Dr. Kramer also consults on the local, state, and federal level on the politics and policy of abortion care and access. Dr. Kramer is a member of American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (ASSECT); The American Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance (TASHRA); and the Sexual Health Alliance.


Dr. Josie McSkimming

Dr Josie McSkimming is a clinical social worker with over 35 years experience. She is currently in private practice in Sydney, providing counselling to couples and individuals, and also clinical supervision. She is an adjunct lecturer at the University of New South Wales, teaching Narrative Therapy. Her book ‘Leaving Christian Fundamentalism and the Reconstruction of Identity’ describes how power spreads like a chain throughout church communities, shaping and re-shaping identity. Individuals are understood as not only subject to a form of judgment, but also exercise it, with everyone seemingly complicit in maintaining the stability of the church organisation. Reconstruction is explored through the life-changing journeys of 20 people, who refuse & resist, engaging in various forms of anti-pastoral revolt.


Dr. Ling Lam

Ling Lam, Ph.D. is a Lecturer in the Counseling Psychology Department where he teaches courses on Complex Trauma, Crisis Intervention, LGBT Counseling, Family Therapy, Couple Therapy and Multicultural Psychotherapy. 


Ling is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a part-time practice in Palo Alto and San Francisco. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering and a B.S. (with distinction) in Electrical Engineering, both from Stanford University. 


Willie Cartwright, EMBA

WILLIE CARTWRIGHT is a speaker, entrepreneur, author, and advocate who holds a B.S Degree in Finance and an Executive MBA.Though he and his wife now own several successful businesses, Willie and his sister were raised by a single mother in the public housing neighbourhoods of Birmingham, Alabama.


As a child, he was relentlessly bullied due to his thick glasses and stutter. His stepfather was so verbally abusive that Willie threatened to kill him. Raised in a strict Christian household deep in the Bible belt, Willie walked away from organized religion and Christianity in 2015.


After doing exhaustive research on the topic, he wrote his most recent book: From Saved to Sane: My journey away from Christianity and how it has adversely affected the African American Community.


Mahrs Schoppman, MA, LMFT

Mahrs Schoppman is a queer & trans somatic psychotherapist with a private practice based out of his home office in the redwood trees of Occidental, California, the traditional territory of the Graton Rancheria and Coastal Mi-wok people.  Mahrs specializes in working with the queer community and with those who live with the embodied traumatic impacts of growing up in an oppressive religious environment.  He is passionate about walking with people on their journeys of reclaiming embodied knowing, sensation, emotional range, and vitality as a means of recovering from the learned dissociation that comes with restrictive religion.  Mahrs facilitates therapy groups for queer survivors of religious trauma and is in the midst of writing a book about his experiences and ideas around religious trauma.  


Christy Powell, LPC

Christy is a Texas based Licensed Professional Counselor and gender and sexuality therapist who uses mindful self-compassion to engineer emotional chemistry, relational bonds and sexual alchemy through kink, poly and queer affirming therapies for religious shame and trauma. He hosts and produces the Atheist Experience Network's Secular Sexuality and is a former member of the Atheist Community of Austin's Board of Directors, he practices under the name Valence Counseling in Austin, TX. 


Carol Merchasin

Carol Merchasin is an international lawyer representing victims of sexual violence, slavery, and human trafficking in spiritual communities and cult organizations. In addition to heading up a practice covering sexual misconduct in religious, faith-based, and spiritual communities at the McAllister Olivarius law firm, Carol is also involved in developing new legal techniques to hold cults and spiritual communities to account.


Claire Alison Hams

Claire Alison Hams is based in the UK. She is a psychodynamic and relational counsellor with a first degree in Counselling with the University of Greenwich and an advanced diploma in psychodynamic counselling. She is currently doing doctoral research with the University of Chester exploring second and multi-generation ex-Jehovah's Witness recovery.

Claire has lived experience of being born in and growing up as a Jehovah's Witness.  She left as an adult and recognises the unique form of grief that comes with the process of leaving and restarting a life outside religion. She now works with former members and survivors of cultic groups and relationships including spiritual abuse, religious trauma, various types of undue influence, coercive control and partner abuse. 

bottom of page