Matters of Faith & Spirituality
An essential part of being human is to be curious and observant. We peer up, down, and all around, thinking about our past, present, and future, with a mixture of hope, anxiety and a vague sense of something that might transcend our natural senses.
Clarity and insight can arise through thoughtful discussion of universal themes, even between people with differing perspectives.
This can be seen throughout history, such as when the learned elders of first century Athens invited a Greek-speaking Jew named Paul to their forum that gathered at Mars Hill. As reported in the New Testament book of Acts, Paul introduced the topic of spiritual yearnings with a candor and confidence that prompted sincere interest and lively discussion.
I respect how my clinical education and training have been shaped and enriched by a Christian worldview, and I strive to manifest the same respect for each client’s personal beliefs. When relevant to your presenting needs, I am quite comfortable exploring these themes with thoughtful dialogue that acknowledges our respective frameworks of spiritual beliefs and faith traditions. I am also open to discussing how emerging knowledge in the areas of psychology and neurology can be integrated with different philosophers and other sources of ancient wisdom, including a Biblically informed view of the human condition.
Exploring your faith related questions and dilemmas can help you grow in important ways. This might entail considering or re-engaging with a faith community (horizontal factors), discovering a sense of meaning and purpose from communion with a higher power (vertical factors), or an interactive combination of both. From my personal and clinical experience, facing the tension between these factors can reveal sources of mental/emotional suffering while also leading to psychological and spiritual healing.
Dr. Gerald May was a Maryland area psychiatrist who wrote about and practiced a spiritually informed approach to helping his patients overcome personal challenges. He frequently explained how matters of faith and spirituality interact with our psychological well-being:
“The course of our lives is precisely as Saint Augustine indicated: our hearts will never rest, nor are they meant to rest, until they rest in God. This precious restlessness is mediated by and manifested through our physical being, through the combined minute strugglings of the cells of our brains and bodies as they seek harmony and balance in their endless adjustment to circumstances.…It is no problem to be solved, no pathology to be treated, no disease to be cured. It is our true treasure, the most precious thing we have. It is God’s song of love in our soul.” ― Gerald G. May, Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions