About Ex-Jehovah's Witness Counselling

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Too many former or current Jehovah's Witnesses report unsatisfactory experiences of counselling. Rather than being able to explore the unique difficulties they face, many find themselves having to explain to the counsellor why certain things happen and the rules by which they have been forced to live.

Life as a Jehovah's Witness is unlike any other but it should not be your job to use the time you are paying for to educate your counsellor.

Our therapy will allow you to focus on and  explore the issues that you are facing, knowing that I understand.

Whether you are PIMI, PIMO, POMI or POMO, where you find yourself in terms of your mental health is  going to be extremely difficult to deal with alone.

Tragically, many in these situations know they cannot share this with those closest to them as it could directly lead to catastrophic consequences of potential disfellowshipping or shunning.

It is due to your unique set of dilemmas that you need a counsellor who understands the implications of the situation you find yourself in, the impossible choices you face and the unimaginable fears that may still haunt you.

Who can possibly imagine what it must be like to be shunned by your own family because you no longer hold the same religious beliefs that you once shared with them? Close friends ignoring you. Your entire support network treating you as if you no longer exist.

Some former Jehovah's Witnesses have described this experience as 'grieving the living'.

Whether you are disfellowshipped, disassociated or have faded, the effects of shunning can be crippling.

However, being shunned is just one aspect of trying to deal with life outside the JW organisation.

If your identity as a dedicated Jehovah's Witness has been lost, and you were born into the religion, you have no other identity to return to. This can feel overwhelming and create a sense that you do not belong anywhere and don't fit in. You may feel totally unequipped for life in the 'real world'.

It may be difficult to understand what it means to have control over your own life if you have spent most of it being told how to dress, how to speak, what is acceptable, how to view other people and even how to think.

quote describing the effects of ostracism
four daisies at different stages of development

For those who are considering leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses, the prospect of being shunned is likely to be frightening. Some people may feel forced into remaining within the JW's as the fear of losing everyone they love is just too traumatic to contemplate.

Therefore, they have no choice but to live a lie, which can lead to feelings of tremendous guilt as they are forced to deceive those closest to them on a daily basis.