Invitation to Participate in a New Research Study on Spiritual Abuse

Dr. Barb Orlowski is looking for spiritual abuse survivors to complete a survey…

Six years ago, a friend blogged about Barb Orlowski looking for survivors of spiritual abuse to fill out a survey about their experiences and recovery. This was for Barb’s doctoral project. I participated – it changed my life!

Back then, the landscape of the survivor community was way less developed, and there was far less research available. Dr. Orlowski’s ground-breaking work deservedly got published in the book Spiritual Abuse Recovery: Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness (Wipf & Stock, 2010). All the while, she’s continued working behind the scenes to minister to survivors, get them connected, and provide new resources. Her compassionate investment in this marginalized community has made an incredibly positive impact for the Kingdom!

And now Dr. Orlowski is looking for spiritual abuse survivors for a new study. It uses a similar set of questions to her 2008 survey, but she is also looking to research how widespread spiritual abuse is. If you are a survivor and didn’t participate in her original study, please consider helping her with this one. I know from experience that it provides an invaluable opportunity to reflect carefully on what happened to us, and synthesize that with intuitive hunches about issues like:

  • What made me susceptible to spiritual abuse?
  • How do toxic leaders capture followers and then keep them under control?
  • What process did I undergo to bring healing from those wounds by religious wolves?

I believe you’d find taking this survey helpful to you, too, if this is the right time for you to think through the destructive impact of abuse, and how reconstruction has been happening in your personal life. The invitation letter with details from Dr. Orlowski is below.

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Request for Survey Participants 2013


You are invited to participate in a New Survey regarding those who have experienced spiritual abuse in your home church or parachurch organization and how you recovered from it.

My initial doctoral research was to confirm how people recovered from the devastating effects of spiritual abuse.  This new survey will seek to verify the numbers of people directly involved in harmful treatment of congregants by the behaviors of church leaders, as well as how those wounded have recovered.

Please consider being a part of this new study. Your responses will be kept in my file for my personal use.  If needed, some pertinent comments may be selected to quote. But anonymity is assured and your name will not be linked with information you share about your experiences.  Your input will be valued and added to the data regarding this topic.  This information will help to better understand the issues.

Please check out my website: and read the articles entitled:  FAQ and What Spiritual Abuse Is and Is Not.  With this description in mind, you can consider if you have had the life experience that this research is seeking to track.

As with the original study, ‘criteria for participants’ is important.  This is to ensure that those who participate in this study are reasonably healed and will not be further harmed by doing this survey.

On the lower right side of my website, you will find the ‘Take The Survey’ page. The CRITERIA FOR THIS STUDY will be on that page. If this fits you, then scroll down a bit further and you will find the link in blue for this survey: PLEASE CLICK HERE.

I was recently asked by a researcher in Australia if I could point them to statistics regarding how widespread spiritual abuse was.  At this time, there does not appear to be very many studies that I can point people to, apart from my own.  This is a motivator to request that people–who were not involved in the original study–take the time and be a part of this new research project.

This is my personal study.  This time it will not be connected with a seminary or be for a degree program.  This information will be added to my ongoing research in this area.  You can be a part of it.  Statistics and data assessed may eventually be available to bloggers who are keen on this topic.

I believe that we can all benefit from this intentional effort.  Let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

Please let me know which blogsite/s informed you about this new study.

You can contact me through my website email:

Thanks for your support and feedback in this venture.


Barb Orlowski, D.Min.



Networking with Others to Raise Awareness

About Spiritual Abuse and Gender Inequality


3 thoughts on “Invitation to Participate in a New Research Study on Spiritual Abuse

  1. Pingback: Invitation to Participate in New Spiritual Abuse Research Study by Dr. Barb Orlowski | Spiritual Sounding Board

  2. Hi Everyone,

    If you go to home page, then scroll down to the right hand side you will see Take the Survey as well as Add Your Voice. (They are the same.) As people read through the Introduction, they can consider the criteria for this study and if they see if this is a fit for them.

    Further down on that page is: PLEASE CLICK HERE in blue. That will link you to the Survey Questions.

    If anyone should have any further questions, concerns, or suggestions, then contact me through my website email:

    Hope that clarifies.

    All the best!

  3. Pingback: New study on spiritual abuse — participants wanted | A Cry For Justice

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