The Queer Spirit Podcast

Episode 5:
Reconstructing Spiritual Practice
with Mahrs Schoppman & Scott Sessions

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Mahrs Schoppman, born and raised in California, is a queer & trans somatic psychotherapist with a private practice based out of his home office in Occidental, California. He specializes in working with the queer community and with those who live with the embodied traumatic impacts of growing up in an oppressive religious environment. He is passionate about walking with people on their journeys of reclaiming embodied knowing, sensation, emotional range, and vitality. Currently, he is launching a series of religious trauma therapy groups with an understanding that group-based trauma needs group based healing.

Born queer and raised orthodox Mormon, Scott Sessions knows about navigating worlds that seem like polar opposites. Scott, who now identifies as an agnostic post-Mormon mystic, is developing a career as a spiritual life coach. He helps those who have left restrictive religions to cultivate new spiritual practices that bring healing and inner peace. In addition to coaching, Scott runs monthly reading events (both online and in-person) called Queer Bedtime Stories, where folks come together to share and be moved by the words of LGBTQ authors. With a commitment to help meet the spiritual needs of this particular moment, standing firm in both Mormon and queer identities, Scott proudly carries the pioneer tradition into the 21st century.

Episode Highlights

  • Mahrs shares about his upbringing in the Evangelical Christian church, and how that effected him as a queer and trans person.
  • Scott shares about his childhood growing up queer in a Mormon community, and struggled with his queer identity and coming out in that space.
  • They both share how they found their path out of the dysfunction of those religious sects, and discovered their new spiritual practices.
  • Mahrs shares how his relationship with the sensations of his body deeply impacted his ability to reconstruct his spiritual self.
  • Scott talks about how he felt numb when he left his church and reconnected to spiritual sensation through writing and poetry. He also shares that learning about the spiritual practice of other queer folks informs his practices as well.
  • Mahrs shares how his work as a psychotherapist is expanding to offer groups for folks recovering from religious trauma. He explains more about what somatic psychology therapy practices look like in practice.
  • Scott shares about his new life coaching groups for queer folks who have left restrictive religions. He also talks about his Queer Bedtime Stories for folks to gather in a soft space to connect online and in-person.
  • They both share their struggle to stay present in groups generally as a result of religious trauma, and how they stay grounded in their bodies in those moments.

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