Our sexuality does not exist in a vacuum. The racialized, sexualized, and gendered messages we are immersed in impact our relationship to our own body as well as the bodies around us. Purity Culture has been a longstanding ideology within Christian Supremacy that has produced rigid, dogmatic binaries of sex, race, and gender. These binaries have led to religious sexual shame (Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers) on an individual level, and have justified systems of oppression on collective levels. This course will give a broad overview of the history of purity culture from a socio-religio-political point of view. This will allow practitioners to understand the backdrop of clients who grew up in Evangelical Christianity are coming in order to support healing the somatic and sexual impacts of purity culture. The course will also offer somatic and trauma informed teachings on the physiological impact of puritanical rhetoric on the nervous systems of clients and include somatic psycho-education so practitioners can have the skills to assist their clients physiologically as well as psychologically.
- Explain the broad history of purity culture in order to understand the world clients are coming from
- Explain the rhetoric of purity and its potential subjective experience for clients based on race, gender, and sexual orientation
- Describe the somatic impacts of religious sexual shame and offer somatic-psychoeducation for practioners to be able to support clients physiologically as well as psychologically
- Discuss and explain how this ideology impacts clinicians via: personal history, transference/countertransference and bias
2:30-3:15- Power point presentation of the History of Purity Culture
3:15-3:45- Somatic exercise
3:45-4:15: Talk through the rhetoric taught within purity culture and its potential subjective experience for clients through research and anecdotal stories
4:15-5:00- Somatic-Psychoeducation on stress response cycle via polyvagal theory and the impact of purity culture rhetoric on individual bodies through discussing the psoas, breath, and vagus nerve
5:00-5:15: Discussion of clinician’s bias, transference, and countertransference
5:15-5:45: Review composite case study and discuss how to offer physiological and psychological care to client
5:45-6:00: Closing comments and Q&A
Jenny McGrath (she/her) MACP, LMHC, SEP is a somatic psychotherapist, movement educator, and researcher. She interrogates the ways in which purity culture impacts individual and collective bodies. Jenny is an active member of the Purity Culture Research Collective. Her current study, Transnationalizing Purity, is exploring how the subjective experience of young, white women raised in purity culture impacted their decisions to do development/missions work abroad. Jenny has a private practice in Seattle, Washington where she specializes in religious sexual shame and sexual abuse. Jenny is passionate about helping clients and students find their way back to the innate wisdom and capacity of their bodies. She offers weekly movement classes online. She also offers online training and courses including Embodied Sexuality and Embodied Story that serve as resources for folks to dive deeper into somatic-psychoeducation as well as self-discovery through movement.