Midwinter Gathering

Midwinter Gathering (2024)

January 19, 2024
6:45 – 9:00 PM
(Virtual Gathering on Zoom)

2 hours CE credit

Evangelical Purity Culture Movement and Mental Health Treatment Considerations
Dr. Emily Oliver

Dr. Oliver will provide a brief presentation of the Evangelical Purity Culture Movement, its effects, and mental health treatment considerations.
(1-Hour Presentation)

Emily Oliver, PhD, LMFT, is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist in the state of Tennessee and Assistant Professor at Richmont Graduate University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Emily holds a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy from Lee University, a MA in Marriage and Family Therapy with specializations in Christian Sex Therapy and Child & Adolescent Therapy from Richmont Graduate University, and a BA in Psychology from Taylor University. Emily has clinical experience in community mental health, school-based mental health, juvenile justice, and providing services to survivors of human trafficking. Emily is a nationally approved clinical supervisor and currently has a private practice in both Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee. 

The Evangelical Purity Culture Movement (PCM) is a social movement focused on eliminating premarital sexual behavior which began in the 1990s and still continues today. The primary message of this movement included the sinful nature of sexual behavior outside of marriage, as well as rhetoric related to the physical and psychological harm assumed for those who engaged in these behaviors. This presentation will focus on the efficacy of the PCM as well as the long-term emotional, psychological, and sexual implications for women who came of age in the PCM. It will also address clinical implications for counselors and therapists working with this population, as well as suggestions for healthier alternatives to sexuality education for today’s youth. 

Learning Objectives:

1) Participants will be able to define Evangelical Purity Culture (PC) and identify differences between PC and a conservative Christian sexual ethic.

2) Participants will identify the long-term emotional, psychological, and sexual implications for women who came of age in PC.

3) Participants will learn to recognize the need for, and the implication of, treatment considerations for this population.

Meaning and Mental Health with Religious “Dones”
Dr. Preston Hill

[Presentation Brief]
(1-Hour Presentation)

Preston Hill (PhD, MLitt, University of St Andrews) is Assistant Professor of Integrative Theology at Richmont Graduate University, where he serves as the Co-Chair of Integration and the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program. His doctoral research offers the first book-length study of Christ’s descent into hell in the theology of John Calvin. His current research focuses on reformation theology, science, and mental health. His latest publications include Dawn of Sunday: The Trinity and Trauma-Safe Church (Cascade, 2021), and a forthcoming volume entitled Christ and Trauma: Theology East of Eden (Cascade). Preston is a clinical pastoral therapist under supervision and ordinand in the Anglican tradition.

Among those who leave religion, there are some who persist with spiritual desires for meaning and transcendent connection. Many of these “spiritually practicing” religious “dones” experience unique mental health challenges likely related to the religious trauma and social adversity they cite as top reasons for dissaffiliating from religion. In this talk, I’ll discuss the challenges and possibilities for “remixed” spiritual experience among this population by setting faith deconstruction and reconstruction in theological context and drawing implications for mental health care among this group.

Learning Objectives:

1) Participants will be able to define “religious dones” and identify differences between processes of religious deidentification and nonreligiosity more generally.

2) Participants will be able to identify etiology and symptomology of mental health challenges for spiritually-seeking individuals who are experiencing religious deidentification.

3) Participants will be able to identify potentials for treatment among this population to cultivate spiritual meaning and mental health.

Past Midwinter Gatherings

January, 2023
Mason Hale:
Attachment Theory and Attachment to God
(Virtual Gathering on Zoom)

Mason has earned a Bachelor of Science in Bible, a Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling, and a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Freed-Hardeman University. He is currently a PhD student in Counseling and Supervision at Tennessee Tech University, the Young Adults Ministry Intern at the College Hills Church of Christ in Lebanon, TN, and a counselor for the Harpeth Hills Counseling Center. He holds the Temp. LPC-MHSP in Tennessee, is a National Certified Counselor, and a Board-Certified Christian Counselor.

January, 2023
Dr. Douglas Ribeiro:
Religious Interculturalism and Spiritual Identity in Counseling
(Virtual Gathering on Zoom)

Dr. Ribeiro is the director of Graduate Counseling and Chair of Psychology at Lipscomb University. Dr. Ribeiro joined the Psychology and Counseling faculty in August of 2012 after finishing his doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at Georgia State University. 

As a Professional Counselor since 2006, Dr. Ribeiro has dedicated his clinical and research efforts to helping survivors of trauma achieve the psychological wellbeing and freedom we are all worthy of enjoying. Beyond his interest in psychological trauma, Dr. Ribeiro is interested in issues related to interpersonal relationships, masculinity, mood difficulties, struggles with attention and concentration, cultural adaptation, and recovery from substance and behavioral addictions such as “sex addiction.”

January, 2022
Cassandra Riedy Rush:
The Incarnation of Trauma – A Call to Social Justice
(Virtual Gathering on Zoom)

Cassandra Riedy Rush (BA, Religious Studies, Georgetown University, 2009; MA, Theology, Ethics and Culture, University of Virginia, 2011; MA, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Belmont University, 2018; Doctoral Candidate, George Washington University) currently serves as a Lecturer at Belmont University for the Mental Health Program in the College of Theology Christian Ministry. She engages in private practice at New Moon Rising Wellness in Franklin, Tennessee where she specializes in trauma-informed care and perinatal mental health.