The Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR) has established the world's first and most comprehensive psychiatric research group to study the causes, manifestations, and treatment options for those suffering from "religious trauma" (RT). This scientific study is being conducted by over 30 internationally-recognized specialists in the field of trauma research, including medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, university professors, neuroimagers, and religion scholars. The study will consist of each specialist contributing a chapter of original research to a large-scale textbook that will cover topics such as:

  • why the study of RT is important;

  • historical, social, and cultural aspects of RT;

  • issues in defining RT;

  • causes and triggers of RT;

  • physical, psychological, interpersonal, and emotional manifestations of RT;

  • effective treatments for RT.

Additionally, with enough funding, this psychological study intends to conduct at least ten fMRI sessions with patients suffering from RT in order to look for patterns in trauma-related brain activity that will allow scientists to detect and analyze the effects of RT on patient behavior and brain chemistry.

What is Religious Trauma:

On Sunday, November 8, 2020, the North American Committee on Religious Trauma Research (NACRTR) had come up with an official definition to help characterize the nature, scope, and meaning of "religious trauma." The official definition is as follows:

"Religious trauma results from an event, series of events, relationships, or circumstances within or connected to religious beliefs, practices, or structures that is experienced by an individual as overwhelming or disruptive and has lasting adverse effects on a person’s physical, mental, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being."

Objectives of the Study:


The objectives of this Religious Trauma Research (RTR) project include:

  • examining the relationship between fMRI data and symptoms to allow for quantitative predictions of clinical psychopathology related to RT;

  • informing the clinical assessment of trauma-exposed individuals by providing an accurate and objective quantitative estimation of religious psychopathology;

  • providing professional counselors and therapists a better understanding of the neurological effects of religiously-related suffering and how best to treat victims or RT;

  • utilizing a national sociological survey to identify the number of people in the U.S. who suffer from RT;

  • creating a diagnostic tool for use in clinical settings in order to help identify patients who suffer from RT;

  • publishing the results in both textbook and peer-reviewed academic journal formats for wide-spread dissemination and use.

Intellectual Merits:

The intellectual merits of this Religious Trauma Research (RTR) project include:

  • providing the first clinical definition of “religious trauma” from an international committee of experts and practitioners in the field of trauma research, which intends to distinguish it from other diagnoseable afflictions, such as PTSD;

  • taking an interdisciplinary approach by involving professional sociologists and religion specialists to elaborate on the historical, social, and cultural aspects of RT;

  • exploring many of the physical, psychological, interpersonal, and emotional manifestations of RT with special attention to differences in children and adult sufferers;

  • examining the role that power differentials have on marginalized groups, such as racial minorities, women, and the LGBTQ+ community;

  • establishing guidelines in diagnosing and promoting best-practice treatments for patients suffering from RT.

Click here to meet our team of researchers

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©2020-Present Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR)
1312 17th Street  Suite 549
Denver, CO 80202