Deb Cuny, M.Div., is a storyteller activist, restorative justice practitioner, consultant, and writer. Deb also serves as a spokesperson and advisory member for the #BornPerfect Campaign to End Conversion Therapy. Deb has shared her story in national media outlets including Huffington Post, The Guardian, VICE, New York Magazine’s The Cut, The Advocate, and Mashable. Serving many years as a Restorative Justice and Social Emotional Coach in the Oakland public school system, Deb has worked diligently to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.
A faith-inspired advocate, Deb's life has transformed from one of rejection and pain into a life filled with hope, reconciliation, and passion for healing systemic injustice and collective liberation.
Holding a Masters of Divinity with a focus in pastoral counseling and social justice from the Graduate Theological Union, she completed her Clinical Pastoral Education certification for chaplaincy at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco where she worked with patients struggling with the impact of oppression including experiencing homelessness, mental illness, and addiction.
Jesus Loves (All) the Little Children: LGBTQ Conversion Therapy
What is conversion therapy? Why do these practices still exist in parts of the church? Conversion therapy, while targeting the LGBTQ community, goes beyond sexuality and gender. It is rooted in the same theological beliefs that harm all marginalized groups, fueling racism, sexism, economic injustice, ableism, etc. How do we then, as people of faith, answer the call to create new theologies that inspire collective liberation where (all) of Jesus' children are welcomed at the table?
Healing the Wounds of Oppression: Restorative Justice Practices
How can faith communities use Restorative Justice (RJ) to repair harm? Restorative Justice is rooted in a spiritual framework that upholds the dignity and worth of every person while validating and supporting the person and/or people who were hurt. Great harm has been inflicted by the hands of the church. By learning more about restorative justice, faith communities have the opportunity to create a "restorative culture," utilizing the principles and practices of restorative justice to take further steps towards responsibility for the harm religion has done to so many people.
In the Name of God: Trauma and the Church
Known as spiritual and/or religious trauma, trauma “in the name of God” is when a religious community and/or leader attempts to control a person through unhealthy indoctrination. People brought up in fundamentalist faith communities have an increased chance of experiencing trauma because of religious beliefs. But everyone, especially marginalized communities, are at risk of religious traumatization since some church beliefs support oppression.
By understanding the latest research and science around trauma and trauma healing therapies, we, as people of faith, can begin to detangle issues of morality from the harms of religious abuse that result in an increase of mental health struggles, addiction, and self-harm.