Leaving the jws is a "lifestyle choice" according to a counsellor

by purrpurr 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • Ruby456


    So I had my first appointment with a counsellor, of course I explained about being a born in jw, mentally leaving, the penalty of doing so and therefore the mental strain of pretending to be someone I'm not.

    Her response was that she couldn't help me with that because leaving a cult was a "lifestyle choice". I tried to say to her that its a cult not a religion and how it brain washed me but no. There's no box to tick for "former cult member" and so they cannot help.

    I don't feel like leaving was a lifestyle choice, it was an awakening to a reality that had been hidden from me and now I'm having to sit on the fence of both worlds

    Do you think it's a lifestyle choice?

    well imo therapists want clients to take responsibility for themselves and for their choices so that they can then find it in themselves to overcome their difficulties.

    This is a lot of responsibility to take on board but if you stick with it you will learn to live as a person in your own right rather than as a person who defines him/herself via an organisation even if it is an organisation you want to leave. saying this cos I know how long the nhs can take to assign you another therapist.

    I was given 6 sessions and if this is true for you your therapist may be aware that you need to cover enormous ground and he/she may be wanting to get to you as a person to help you cope rather than talk to you about the JW organisation and its effects.

    edit: wouldn't ticking the box to say you are making a lifestyle choice indicate to you that you are in charge and not the organisation?

  • pbrow

    "I don't feel like leaving was a lifestyle choice, it was an awakening to a reality that had been hidden from me and now I'm having to sit on the fence of both worlds"

    I am failing to see the problem with her assessment that leaving is a lifestyle choice. What else is it? If the jw lifestyle is not for you then ... are you not making a lifestyle choice to get out and not live that life??

    Leaving the jw life is a lifestyle choice just like sitting on the fence in both worlds is a lifestyle choice. If you decide to sit on the fence you pay for that choice by having to suppress your personal freedom because of fear of what other people will do. If you choose to leave the religion, you are making the decision to no longer be afraid of what other people will do/say to/about you. There are consequences of either choice but make no mistake, it is a lifestyle choice.

    I am not really sure though why she/he would not be able to assist you with it. Being raised a born in has a very concrete affect on who you are as a person and how you deal with life. That is specifically what her job is meant to address.


  • corruptgirl
    No one can understand what JWs and other similar cults are like. She doesn't understand and seems like she's unwilling to understand. Maybe you should see someone who specializes in this or just talk to us here and vent. 😁
  • patient

    I never found a counselor that was able to truly understand and empathize with the exit from JW situation ... I found my "counsel" in support groups attended by Ex JWs .... at one point I couldn't find one so I started one on Meetup.com ...I found strength advice and friendship in these groups ... Also I had attended (for another reason) Al Anon which is a support group for family members of addicts ... really it was this support group where I found the "permission" I needed to end my involvement mentally with the JWs and it allowed me to overcome the "Guilt" we have been manipulated with while "inside"

  • StephaneLaliberte

    If you make broad statements like: “They brain washed me and leaving this cult was harmful to me”, you will immediately be set up for failure. You need to be specific.

    I was and am still harassed by my religion who enforce the practice of shunning. As a result of their influence, I have lost normal, even minimal contact with all of my friends and family. These people close to me have no choice but to comply as they are also threatened by the same treatment if they do not willingly comply. In addition, I have been labeled: “Apostate” since I am no longer a member of their group. This label is associated with all sorts of unfounded insults of which, I am now a victim of.

  • OneEyedJoe

    I agree that seeing someone else is the best choice. There's absolutely no point in seeing a therapist that you don't see eye-to-eye with - the therapist/patient relationship is the most important driver of positive results from therapy, even more important than the type of therapy practiced.

    Even if it were analogous to picking between a baptist and a catholic church, your therapist should be able to help you with such a "lifestyle choice." Helping people work through and understand their motivations and drive towards what they really want as well as coping with the difficulties of a change in lifestyle are things that any therapist should be well equipped to help you with. If you're talking to a therapist that won't help you with those things, there is absolutely no point in going back.

  • Finkelstein

    because leaving a cult was a "lifestyle choice"

    Well that may be true to a certain extent but there is much more involving when one leaves a highly controlling religious cult and the prevailing consequences that occur are far more psychological traumatic to deal with.

    Changing one's job or profession is a lifestyle change.

    Moving away to a completely distant land and cultural is a lifestyle change.

    Leaving a long term marriage is a lifestyle change.

    Behavior problems with children and teenagers.

    Drug and alcohol abuse issues. ....etc.

    These are the kind of things typically social counselors are dealing with, they rarely deal with people who are being socially cast out their families and close associating friends by simply leaving a religion. JWS. Scientologists, Moonies are just some these highly controlling cults and how deeply they can psychology effect a person wanting to leave or remove themselves out this social environment.

    If a trained counselor is not educated or trained on the sociological behavior of cults, they will have little to offer toward individuals who are seeking help.

  • Heaven

    In my Father's case, it was not. His fronto temporal lobe dementia made the choice.

  • neverendingjourney

    The vast majority of people are incapable of fully understanding the trauma associated with leaving the Jehovah's Witness religion. Psychologists and therapists are no exception.

    I saw a psychiatrist a few years ago. I had four or five sessions with her. She tried her best but just couldn't really relate to what I was struggling with. She said my symptoms were almost PTSD-like and kept trying to help me find the root cause of my trauma even though all I wanted to talk about was JW-related.

    I found the following book to be the most helpful:


    The author was not a Witness but grew up in a fundamentalist environment. I got a lot more value out of the book than I did from the various sessions with the psychologist.

  • punkofnice
    Do you think it's a lifestyle choice?

    To me, a 'lifestyle choice' is more about what colour toilet roll you shove in your khazi. Or what nail polish you wear on a building site.

    Leaving the cult of watchtower is nothing to do with a lifestyle, it's a bloomin' sight more serious and complicated than that. this therapist is either a complete charlatan or has no idea what the WBT$ slaveholdery entails.

    I am moving on to another counsellor

    Good move Purryness!

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