PSI in Practice: Counseling Themes in Psychospiritual Integration

Please join us for our April PSI in Practice free forum, “Counseling Themes in Psychospiritual Integration” presented by Dr. K. Elizabeth Oakes.

April 2, 2014, 10:30a – 12:00p at
OneSpirit Learning Alliance
247 West 36th Street, 6th Floor
(between 7th and 8th Avenues)
New York

Program Description

West, in his book, Shoes of the Fisherman, observes:

“It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price . . . One has to abandon altogether the search for security and reach out to the risk of living [fully] with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.” (1991, p. 254)

It is offered that the spiritual themes surrender, acceptance, forgiveness, hope, and serenity can be used in psychotherapy to address these decidedly challenging conditions of existence. One thing we can all agree upon is that it is easy enough to accept beauty in the world, but it is another thing when it comes to that which is ugly in the world, disturbing. We can’t accept that. We can’t easily accept heartbreak, trauma, pain, grief, poverty, abuse, violence, death . . . Just as our clients will ask us, how do we accept that which we have no power over, no control over . . . how can we NOT accept it?

In the spiritual process of acceptance, the four other basic processes – forgiveness, hope, willingness, surrender are invariably engaged. And these are the basic spiritual processes that will be instrumental in helping our clients engage during their healing journeys. They are also the basic spiritual processes that we, as counselors, need for our own professional growth, especially if we work directly with integrating spirituality into psychotherapy. And, as psychospiritual integrationists, we can begin to gauge our clinical effectiveness by how well we incorporate these 5 recommended practices in our own spiritual work: 1) letting go, 2) being in the now, 3) experiencing and valuing deep gratitude, 4) cultivating a greater openness to passion and awe, and 5) embracing a simple sense of perspective.

In this seminar, participants will examine three parallel integration themes that can enhance or diminish therapeutic progress. The counselor themes are intimacy, self-awareness, and spiritual practice. The client themes are relationship skills, self-knowledge, and spiritual belief and experience. The goal of the seminar is to help clinical practitioners explore how their psychospiritual presence during the counseling session models the psychospiritual integration experience they seek for their clients.

All forums are free of charge. To RSVP, please email psi-invite@mindspirit.org or call 212-285-0043.

View video clips from our Wednesday Forums or visit our YouTube channel.


Our Wednesday morning forums for mental health professionals, clergy, other clinicians and helping professionals include presentations by members of PSI staff as well as invited guests. They are designed to offer opportunities for engagement in topics and modalities that integrate psychotherapy and spirituality. They are also an opportunity for peer fellowship and networking.

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