Over the past decade research on religion and spirituality has burgeoned. There is abundant research support for the effectiveness of religion/spirituality to promote positive mental health outcomes (Koenig, 2012). Religion/spirituality works through a variety of mechanisms to promote greater well-being, improved coping with stress, and better mental health.
Despite such overwhelming evidence, religion/spirituality is often regarded as inappropriate for therapist to address. Many counselors avoid the subject in therapy, partly out of lack of knowledge about how to do integrate it into sessions and/or ignorance about its effectiveness in achieving the goals of therapy (Crook-Lyon et al., 2012). At the same time researchers have found the majority of clients want spirituality to be part of the therapeutic conversation (Vieten et al., 2013).
The heart of this ongoing problem is related to the fact that many mental health programs lack any course, seminar or workshop in their curriculum that addresses this critical intersection of spirituality and mental health in the treatment of mental disorders (Hage, 2006; Vieten et al., 2013). At the same time most mental health disciplines have developed a list of competencies that programs can use as the basis for the training of students. This course draws on these competencies as it seeks to address this deficiency in clinical practice.
When facing a profound a loss of any kind, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, pet loss or loss of health, we cannot separate psychology from spirituality. Regardless of one’s belief system, spiritual outlook or concept of God, loss and grief almost always triggers existential questions, because searching for meaning is an intrinsic part of the grieving process.
Anyone who works to support the bereaved inevitably encounters this struggle, but often feels uncertain of how to examine it. Indeed, a Christian might wonder, “Why would a loving god let this happen?” or “Is God punishing me?” A person who is Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) might ask, “What am I supposed to learn from this experience?” or “How is this experience challenging me to deepen my spiritual practice?” An atheist might question whether painful events are truly random, or if there is some deeper purpose to our losses.
It can be unclear how to engage productively with these questions while respecting the uniqueness of each person’s spiritual journey. This class will introduce us to a variety of perspectives and practices that will help us develop interfaith, multi-cultural tools for meeting grief in ourselves and others.
Registration will open April 15, 2021 on this site.
People’s religious and spiritual beliefs are deeply intertwined with their mental and emotional health. Population surveys show that over 70% of people identify their religion as the key orienting principle of their lives, and most people rely on their religion or spirituality to cope with stress, depression, and anxiety. In addition, many people experiencing mental health symptoms and their family members seek help initially (and on an ongoing basis) from a clergy person.
Mental health professionals are seeing an ever-increasing variety of spiritual and religious beliefs and practices among their clients, and clergy members, pastoral counselors, and spiritual teachers are dealing with a wide array of mental health issues among their communities. Both can benefit from learning more about the interplay of spirituality and mental health, and from learning to work collaboratively for the benefit of their mutual clients/parishioners. This seminar is grounded upon insights gained from empirical research on the role of religion in psychological well-being and suffering, experience of expert presenters in the fields of psychology and religion; and promotes respectful interchange from members of this interdisciplinary seminar. Evidence-based skills related to clinical and spiritual practice will be presented.
Explores diverse paradigms of healing and wholeness: Jungian, Logotherapy, Native American, African American, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, and Scientific.