Spiritual Abuse

Religious Trauma Syndrome

Trauma-Informed, Virtual
Coaching and Christian Counseling
Via Phone or Video Chat

What is Spiritual Abuse?

Spiritual abuse is a form of psychological and emotional abuse that occurs when a spiritual authority seeks to control and manipulate others for their own advantage.   It can occur in families, churches, ministries, groups, schools, cults, movements, and any other relationship where the victim perceives the abuser to be in a position of spiritual authority.  

Spiritual abuse frequently occurs in faith-based programs, organizations, or movements where high levels of toxicity and narcissism are present in one or more individuals in positions of influence.  When there is one or more leaders with strong narcissistic characteristics, they can then create an entire network of members who are actively or passively involved in the abusive system. Other times groups can have beliefs and an organizational structure that are highly attractive to abusive individuals. 

I specialize in providing trauma-based recovery services for those who have experienced spiritual abuse in Christian settings. 

Do You Need?


Are you constantly confused and questioning everything? 

Get the validation and insights you need to unravel your individual situation and clearly understand the truth about what is happening.


Have you tried everything, but nothing seems to be helping?

Get the personalized guidance, effective strategies, and roadmap you need to confidently choose your next steps.


Are you realizing just how deeply you have been impacted?

Get the trauma-informed support and direction you need to overcome the impacts and move forward in your life.

Are you looking for personalized support to help you recover from SPIRITUAL ABUSE?

Maybe you have been endlessly Googling topics about spiritual abuse or watching videos, yet you’re still struggling to heal.

Maybe you feel alone, frozen, and unsure of what to do or where to turn.
Many of us come to a point in our healing where we need individualized support and personalized insights to continue moving forward.

We all need…
compassionate and reliable support, clarity in what seems utter chaos, our hope restored, encouragement, answers, validation, calming tools that actually work, and knowing what steps to take to heal.

One-on-one support is designed to give you the safe space you need to catch your breath, sort things out, and find much-needed peace in your life. There’s no pressure. You’ll receive lots of support, validation, helpful information, gentle encouragement, and a roadmap that will guide you to overcoming abuse.

You’ll start to feel better as you better understand what is happening and learn how to move forward. You’ll discover ways to manage the intense impacts of abuse, find connection and stability, and develop the skills and confidence you need to move forward.

If you’re ready to have someone on your side to gently and compassionately guide you through the healing process, I’d love to talk.

Spiritual Abuse Covers a Wide Variety of Experiences.
Here are Some That I Specialize In:

Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement (IFB)

Bill Gothard (IBLP & ATI)

Quiverfull Movement

Patriarchy – Umbrella of Protection

SOZO Healing Ministry


Biblical Counseling (formerly Nouthetic)

Word of Faith Movement

While certainly not everyone associated with these organizations and movements are spiritually abusive, their organizational structure, function, use of Scripture, or training methods, can make them very appealing to predatory, abusive, and narcissistic individuals.  

These movements and organizations not only can provide abusers with the perfect hunting grounds to find their victims, but their teachings and cultish structure can support and conceal the physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse of victims.

When victims do speak out, far too often they are vilified, demonized, rejected, smeared, and defamed while the abuser is coddled, protected, hidden, supported, and even rewarded.

My Approach

I believe we are all beautifully unique, including YOU, so a “one size fits all” approach often isn’t helpful and can even be hurtful. So, instead of using a cookie-cutter plan, I enjoy working together with you to create a path forward that considers your unique personality, challenges, and strengths.

I believe that you are the expert on you. My role is to listen and learn about you so that I can provide the guidance and support you need to get to where you want to go. The best growth and healing occurs in a space where you feel free to ask questions, disagree, and talk about what is helpful and what isn’t.

I believe every person is valuable. Unfortunately, trauma often causes us to confuse the impacts of trauma with our identity. When this happens, we are left feeling deeply ashamed, hopeless, crazy, and weak. I value you, and I want to create a safe space where you can feel and know your value too!



Willow Life Coaching and Counseling, LLC does NOT provide medical services. Please see a licensed medical provider if you need medical and mental health services.

About Me

Bonnie Ronstrom

I’m a certified life coach, victim’s advocate, and pastoral counselor. I specialize in walking toward healing with those harmed by toxicity, narcissism, and spiritual abuse.

My passion is to provide the validation, support, training, and resources individuals and organizations need to overcome the devastating impacts of toxicity and abuse.

Whether you need a one-time consult or a place to heal, I look forward to meeting you and exploring how we can best work together. I work with clients from all over the world through virtual, trauma-informed coaching, Christian counseling (non-medical), groups, training, and consulting services.

Contact Me

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do you work with?

I work with English speaking adults from diverse cultures, countries, and backgrounds.

Christian Counseling

Do you take insurance?

My services are not medical, so they are not covered by medical insurance.

If you didn’t see an answer to your question, the link below will take you to more frequently asked questions.

What does working together look like?

The various parts of us (body, mind, soul, spirit, emotions, personality, abilities, etc.) are so intricately woven together that all aspects of us are impacted when we experience hardships and trauma. For this reason, I believe the most profound growth and healing occur when all parts of us are part of the process.

When we first meet, I’ll ask about your goals and what you hope to gain from working together. Some people have a clear picture of what they want, while others are overwhelmed and focused on surviving today (an expected impact of abuse and trauma). If this is your situation, we can start with your immediate needs, such as helpful information, clarity, a safety plan, or strategies to calm the chaos and anxiety.

I let each person decide how often they want to meet (permitting time in my schedule) and if they prefer to meet via phone or video chat.

As we talk, I discover your personality, experiences, preferences, and abilities. Getting to know you is an essential part of helping me present options and strategies that will be effective for you. I don’t believe a one-size-fits-all approach works. 


Part of being trauma-sensitive is that I’m always listening for potential triggers and roadblocks so that together we can develop creative ways to help you keep moving forward and avoid being retraumatized. 

Trauma alters how our brain and nervous systems function. Even when we are no longer in a harmful environment, having “trauma brain” causes physical problems and makes everyday tasks and interactions difficult. An essential part of healing is helping your brain and nervous systems return to healthy functioning. Thankfully, our brains are capable of changing and developing new patterns. Even though trauma is devastating, healing is possible!

People are traumatized when they go through deeply distressing events. When these distressing events are ongoing (such as in the case of Narcissistic Abuse), the impacts are profound.

When there is stress, our brains temporarily change how they function to help us respond to the stressor and recover afterward. Prolonged trauma causes our brains to take on new patterns of functioning. Certain brain areas become overactive while others under-function. These changes are sometimes referred to as “trauma brain.”

Here are just a few of the signs of “trauma brain.”

Lack of focus

Memory issues, Forgetful

Fatigue, Unmotivated

Anxious, restless

Emotionally reactive

Difficulty feeling connected to anyone

Difficulty thinking through challenging topics 

More impulsive

Drawn toward addictions (food, shopping, drugs, researching, etc.)

Sleep difficulties

Loss of hope or difficulty thinking about the future


Overthinking & obsessing

Headaches, stomach and intestinal issues, auto-immune disorders

Skeptical of everyone and everything