The approach at Journey Free is one of empowerment, in the broad context of Human Development.  As a matter of context, the field of human development is the study of human change over the lifespan and includes all domains: psychological, physical, social, and environmental.  In working with individual problems, the emphasis is on building strengths rather than diagnosing pathology.  The Director of Journey Free, Marlene Winell, earned a Ph.D in Human Development and wrote her thesis on Personal Goal Hierarchies.

The help at Journey Free is designed to help you:

–       Understand what you are dealing with by learning about religious indoctrination, thereby developing self-compassion and reducing self-blame

–       Tell your story in a way that is coherent and healing

–       Understand trauma, the mind-body connection, and develop a “Trigger Management System”

–       Clarify areas of delayed development and take steps forward

–       Develop strategies for dealing with RTS symptoms

–       Improve relationships with family and find social support

–       Discover resources for deconstructing religious harm

The professionals and facilitators at Journey Free all have personal experience with recovering from religion so they understand what you are going through on your deconstruction journey.  They are also “trauma informed” in that they understand concepts and strategies for handling religious trauma in the framework of trauma treatment.  Our approach is one of compassion and listening, but also providing substantial psycho-education about the recovery process.

Individual Consultation:

–       Private religious recovery consulting sessions with Dr. Winell or mentored helping professionals experienced with recovery from religion.  “Consulting” is similar to coaching but with a strong educational component; clients in religious recovery usually need information and strategies. These sessions are informed by psychotherapy methods and trauma treatment.

Group Support:

–   Release & Reclaim online support group for religious recovery. The group includes a private website with forums and member stories as well as three monthly video conference calls.

–   In-person Retreats
Get on the waiting list for upcoming retreats here.


On this website, you will find resources to help you learn more about what you are going through, including:

–       Articles explaining Religious Trauma Syndrome + Blog

–       Crisis Information (helplines, etc)

–       Recommended books, resources and videos

–       Link to Journey Free’s YouTube channel

–       Internet resources for recovery

–       Links to Winell’s book, Leaving the Fold

–       Download of the workbook that accompanies Leaving the Fold

Professional Development:

–       Support group for helping professionals to learn about religious recovery. Includes monthly case conferences, professional materials, and access to past session videos. Open to psychotherapists, life coaches, social workers, psychologists, and educators.

–       Internship program

–       Individual supervision sessions

Reach out to Dr. Winell at if you’re interested in either of the above.