Diverse Perspectives on Healing (Part 8)

by Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D.,  Program Chair at Sofia University for the PhD in Transpersonal Psychology programs

Alan Wallace, a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and practitioner, articulates the importance of the mind in healing. In contrast to Sequoyah Trueblood, whom we heard from previously in this series, Wallace ascribes great importance to the refinement and utilization of the mind during the healing process. Through the frequency of specific healing mantras on the “conveyor” of the mind Wallace believes the healer can most effectively address the ailmenets of a healee.

 

Alan Wallace.JPG

CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO

 

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-6-37-54-pmMarilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. is a social anthropologist, researcher, writer, and charismatic public speaker. She is currently the Founder and CEO of Worldview Enterprises. She also serves as President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Additionally, she is a Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center, where she focuses on health and healing, and is a board member of Pacifica Graduate Institute.

For more than three decades, Marilyn has been a leader in the field of consciousness studies. Her research and extensive publications focus on personal and social transformation, cultural pluralism, extended human capacities, and mind body medicine. She has a depth of leadership experience in government, business, and the not-for-profit sectors. Her broad and varied work has given her a unique ability to help individuals and organizations identify and develop personal and interpersonal skills and capacities needed by 21st century leaders.

She produced the film Death Makes Life Possible with Deepak Chopra, and wrote a companion book of the same name, published by SoundsTrue. To see her other film credits, click here. To explore her current research projects, click here.

Advertisements

Diverse Perspectives on Healing (Part 3)

by Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D.,  Program Chair at Sofia University for the PhD in Transpersonal Psychology programs

Welcome to Part 3 of this blog series that explores the many cultural and religious perspectives on healing. Using video excerpts from two DVDs, Consciousness & Healing, and Compassionate Intention, Prayer, and Distant Healing, this series illuminates the diversity of perspectives and the common threads that unite the many distinct approaches to healing.

In the video excerpt below Nancy Maryboy, who is Navajo and Cherokee and has a doctorate in Native American cosmology, shares Native perspectives on distant healing. She tells us that while there may be spatial differences between on-site versus distant (e.g. across the country) healing, one still calls upon the same cosmic elements to perform the healing. Maryboy also shares perspectives on time and healing, especially during and after ceremonial healing gatherings.

Click here to watch video.

nancy-maryboy

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-6-37-54-pmMarilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. is a social anthropologist, researcher, writer, and charismatic public speaker. She is currently the Founder and CEO of Worldview Enterprises. She also serves as President Emeritus and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Additionally, she is a Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center, where she focuses on health and healing, and is a board member of Pacifica Graduate Institute.

For more than three decades, Marilyn has been a leader in the field of consciousness studies. Her research and extensive publications focus on personal and social transformation, cultural pluralism, extended human capacities, and mind body medicine. She has a depth of leadership experience in government, business, and the not-for-profit sectors. Her broad and varied work has given her a unique ability to help individuals and organizations identify and develop personal and interpersonal skills and capacities needed by 21st century leaders.

She produced the film Death Makes Life Possible with Deepak Chopra, and wrote a companion book of the same name, published by SoundsTrue. To see her other film credits, click here. To explore her current research projects, click here.

Inquiry into Self-Transcendence

From Ecological, Non-Ecological, and Embodied Self-Transcendence in Introspection by Olga Louchakova-Schwartz
Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 2.08.33 PM
The principle of transcendence, implicit in any consciousness, sets the stage for a variety of psychological experiences indispensable to being human. Can we fully claim the knowledge of all forms of psychological self-transcendence?
I will present the findings concerning the robust introspective self-experience in Christian prayer, whereby transcendence is internal, and is realized as an embodied stratified self-constitution engaging the internal I-Thou. Two different forms of experience, egological and non-egological, contribute to shaping the important religious concepts of the Ladder and of the Ascent of the Soul.
This experience leads to self-knowledge, and to positive characterological transformation, which in turn heals the traces of prior traumas and integrate the “shadow”. Using the
example of this experience, I will show how the psychology of transcendence pushes the boundaries of neuroscience by challenging the latter to expand its old theories and generate new ones, such as non-linear dynamics or neuroquantology.
 
Introspection in Religious Life
Towards such typology of religious introspection, my present study aimed to explore whether religious introspection has stable structures which can be possibly involved in the formation of religious experience which lead to the emergence of a religious metaphysical concept.
As distinct from the highly formalized, prescriptive phenomenological structures in various kinds of meditation which are intended to specifically modify the mind, I was interested in the modes of introspection which have more flexibility, be less regimented and more natural, and aim at self-knowledge in context of religious ideation. In other words, I was interested how the famous injunction of the Oracle of Delphi, “know thyself”, would translate into a theological or metaphysical idea. As briefly mentioned above, there exists a significant difference  between introspective self-transcendence in religious or spiritual practice, and regular psychological or philosophical (non-religious) introspection.
Obviously, in non-religious, non-metaphysical introspection, the only agent is the ordinary psychological self, without much depth; in religious or metaphysical introspection, the subjects posits and is intent upon the Ultimate Reality, or the presence of God within, with all the modifications of identity which take place while introspection is pursued, and further, in the final self-transcendence when Deity or Ultimate Reality are actualized in introspective experience.  
Notably, these states are not only conceived theologically, but also lived empirically: God is first experienced within as the Other, and then this internal I-Thou is transformed into an experience of Union, which has been described as : “I am not, but He is, and in that, somehow, I am” – an ultimate formula of self-transcendence. From personal experience and the experience of spiritual counseling and teaching, I suspected that the journey between the natural state of self-awareness and this final self-transcendence offers many possibilities to confirm or generate religious ideas, and I needed to establish a specific bond between the two.
Click here to read more of this article.

Should psychotherapy training include religion and spirituality?

By David Lukoff, Ph.D.

david-lukoff-222x196

In 1985, I proposed a new diagnostic category entitled Mystical Experience with Psychotic Features (MEPF) to identify intense spiritual experiences that present as psychotic-like episodes.  In 1989, Francis Lu, a psychiatrist on the faculty at UC Davis, and I began collaborating on a proposal for a new diagnostic category for the then-in-development DSM-IV, which we saw as the most effective way to increase the sensitivity of mental health professionals to spiritual crises.  The transpersonal movement supported this 4 year effort through publication of articles in JTP and presentations at ATP conferences to fine tune the proposal.  Ultimately in 1994, the proposal for a new diagnostic category was accepted: Religious or Spiritual Problem.  This is not listed as a mental disorder but a problem in living that requires some clinical attention.

Psychology and psychiatry have a long history of ignoring and pathologizing religion and spirituality.  This DSM category has served as a foot the door which has opened the mental health field to a broader consideration of spirituality in mental health.

Today, within mainstream psychological theory and research, we are seeing the continued exploration of transpersonal issues in the attention to “religious coping” and “spiritual struggles.”  Transpersonal psychology, starting with its founder Abraham Maslow’s focus on self-actualization and optimal functioning, has been the tip of the spear in this change.  The early transpersonal work on distinguishing a spiritual emergency from a psychotic disorder which led to a diagnostic category for spiritual problems has laid the groundwork for this new work on spiritual competencies which recognizes spirituality as a resource for wellness and recovery and the value of spiritually oriented interventions such as mindfulness practices.

I have been teaching about spiritual competencies in graduate courses in Sofia University’s PsyD and GPHD programs. Class activities include writing a spiritual autobiography, conducting a spiritual assessment with someone outside the class, keeping a gratitude journal for a week, and other exercises from the book.

(Below is an article written by David Lukoff, et. al:)

Competencies for Psychologists in the Domains of Religion and Spirituality

Religion and spirituality are important parts of the lives of most people in the United States. Gallup polls between 1992 and 2012 (Gallup, 2015) reveal that over the last two decades 79% to 88% of Americans have said that religion is “very important” or “fairly important” in their lives. A full 92% believe in God, and nearly 70% report being either “very religious” or “moderately religious” (Gallup, 2011, 2015).

A recent Pew Research Center (Lugo, 2012) survey found that even among those who report no specific religious affiliation, more than half self- identify as a religious or spiritual person. More than a third of those who are unaffiliated (37%) self-identify as “spiritual, but not religious,” and about 15% to 30% of individuals in the general population report being in this category (Lugo, 2012; Marler & Hadaway, 2002; Moore, 2003).

 

Religion and Spirituality and Psychological Health

Research has shown that for many people, spiritual and religious beliefs and practices (SRBPs; Saunders, Miller, & Bright, 2010) are intertwined with psychological and emotional well-being. Spirituality and religion substantially color the way people understand themselves and the world around them, including their values, morals, and behaviors, their stance or orientation toward other people, their feelings of happiness and safety, their capacities for forgiveness and gratitude, their level of social support and engagement, and how they interpret the meaning of events and situations, including their approach to illness and death in themselves and others (Emmons & Paloutzian, 2003; Norenzayan, Dar-Nimrod, Hansen, & Proulx, 2009; Park, 2013; Schultz, Tallman, & Alt- maier, 2010; Tay, Li, Myers, & Diener, 2014; Vallurupalli et al., 2012).

Spiritual and religious beliefs and practices qualify as aspects of human diversity equivalent in importance to race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Based on the ethical codes that have guided our field for over a decade, psychologists should receive training in competencies related to religion and spirituality just as the field of psychology now requires for other forms of cultural competence.

For instance, according to the APA Ethics Code (American Psychological Association, 2003) psychologists should consider religious diversity as they do other forms of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation:

Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. (p. 1063)

Furthermore, the APA Guidelines on Multi- cultural Education, Training, Research, Prac- tice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists (American Psychological Association, 2003) identify religion and spirituality as important aspects of multiculturalism that should be included in cultural competency training, defining culture as “the embodiment of a world- view through learned and transmitted beliefs, values, and practices, including religious and spiritual traditions” (p. 8).

In 2007, APA adopted a comprehensive “Resolution on Religious, Religion-Based and/or Religion-Derived Prejudice,” condemning prejudice and discrimination against individuals or groups based on their SRBPs and resolving to include information on religious/spiritual prejudice and discrimination in multicultural and diversity training material and activities (American Psychological Association, 2007a).

Attention to spirituality and religion as components of multicultural diversity is inade quate, with most of the focus in training on ethnic and racial diversity (Frazier & Hansen, 2009). For example, Nagai (2008) found that clinicians’ self-ratings were much higher for ethnic/racial cultural competence compared to their ratings of spiritual competence.

 

Avoidance of Religion and Spirituality in Clinical Practice

A survey of more than 300 clinical psychologists on a mailing list of randomly selected APA members who had a doctorate in clinical psychology and were practicing clinicians found that these psychologists discuss religion and spirituality with only 30% of their clients, and fewer than half address clients’ SRBPs in any way during assessment or treatment planning (Hathaway et al., 2004).

Why is this the case? It does not appear to be because of lack of interest. Psychotherapists indicate an openness to engage the topic of religious and spiritual issues with clients (Brown, Elkonin, & Naicker, 2013; Knox, Cat- lin, Casper, & Schlosser, 2005) and a survey of college counselors revealed that more than 70% were open to in-session discussions of religious and spiritual issues (Weinstein, Parker, & Ar- cher, 2002). Moreover, clients report that they would like to discuss religious and spiritual matters in psychotherapy (Goedde, 2000; Post & Wade, 2009). Most clients want to be asked about their SRBPs (Blanton, 2005; Diallo, 2012; Knox et al., 2005; Oxhandler & Parga- ment, 2014; Post & Wade, 2009). For example, in a survey of clients (N 74) from nine different counseling centers, Rose, Westefeld, and Ansely (2001) found that 55% of clients wanted to discuss religious/spiritual concerns with their psychotherapist and 63% thought it was appropriate to do so.

Avoidance of religion and spirituality in clinical practice may instead be attributable to the fact that most psychologists receive little education or training in how to ethically and effectively attend to religious and spiritual domains in clinical practice, or guidance about the extent to and methods by which they should incorporate this dimension into their work.

To read more of this article, click here.

Religion and Spirituality in Psychology – New Competencies for Psychologists

_58A9497 2sqSofia’s PsyD program has always viewed religion and spirituality as important aspects of human diversity that should receive attention in cultural competence training for psychologists. However most psychologists receive little or no training in religious and spiritual issues, in part because no agreed upon set of spiritual competencies or training guidelines exist.

In response to this need, David Lukoff and 4 coauthors have developed a set of spiritual and religious competencies for psychologists based on:

1) a comprehensive literature review,

2) a focus group with scholars and clinicians, and

3) an online survey of 184 scholars and clinicians experienced in the integration of SRBP and psychology.

These were published in a 2013 article in the APA journal that is among the most popular downloads of the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

In a second study that was just accepted for study in another APA journal (Spirituality in Clinical Practice), the same authors conducted a survey to determine whether these competencies would be more broadly acceptable to practicing clinicians. Results indicated a large degree of support for the proposed competencies.

This research creates an opening for the wider field to address the critical religious and spiritual issues and strengths of clients.

Blog by David Lukoff, Ph.D.

Published article: Vieten, C., Scammell, S., Pilato, R., Ammondson, I., Pargament, K. I. , & Lukoff, D. (2013). Spiritual and Religious Competencies for Psychologists.

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5(3), 129-144.

New article accepted for publication 7-9-2015:

Competencies for Psychologists in the Domains of Religion and Spirituality

In: Spirituality in Clinical Practice