"Knowing thyself is the beginning of all wisdom." - Aristotle
Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy is an alternative, natural modality of self-care which allows for theological conversations in a clinical setting.
Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy is a specialized form of mental health care that allows for conversations around religiosity and/or spirituality. There is no special requirement to engage such conversations, however, research has shown that religiosity and/or spirituality play a significant role in the mental health and overall well-being of individuals.
The services I provide as a Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapist include spiritually based modalities of care including education and support as they relate to:
- Dis/Connections that cause Spiritual pain
- Healing through previous theological harm, the art of forgiveness and understanding
- Mind, body, and spirit connections - understanding the impact of spiritual pain on the body and mental and physical health
- How moral conflict can show up in several ways through emotional and physical pain
- How core beliefs and values play a role in self-understanding
- Writing/Re-writing your Spiritual Autobiography as a means of self-understanding and compassion
- Reconciling spiritual discomfort through natural remedies or spiritual solutions
- Recreating spiritual connections
- Compassionate self-care as a way of life
- Releasing and letting go of a need to control, learning to trust the process
Is Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy right for you?
There are several benefits to engaging theological conversations in a clinical setting, especially if you feel like there is “something more” to be addressed. If you have experienced hesitation in talking about certain issues in a clinical setting, you may want to consider if they involve your personal theology. It is often discovered, even in casual conversations, that the internal voice of a personal theology is directly impacting the way we feel and think. Up until recently, theological conversations in a clinical setting were considered taboo by both the clinician and the client. However, that is becoming less and less true, especially to clinicians. Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapists have specialized training and education to provide integrated mental health and spiritual care to individuals. Many, if not most, Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapists are Ordained Ministers, Pastoral Care Providers, and/or Chaplains.
The research findings, which show that personal theology plays a significant role in the overall well-being of individuals, has propelled an awareness in the mental health and pastoral care industries that integrated competency in both of these areas is nothing less than beneficial to those who receive the care. Thus, many mental health professionals are extending their credentials to include spiritual care modalities and visa-versa, spiritual care providers are supplementing their credentials with mental health training, certification, and/or licensure. Research has shown that education, a compassionate approach, and a deeper understanding of spiritual pain, theological dis/connections, and/or taking advantage of spiritual and theological sources of strength can expand, amplify, and enhance the healing potential of "Whole-person Care".
Whether a particular emotional, mental, or physical ailment is in/directly impacted by a personal theology is not always clear. Sometimes, a conversation around beliefs and worldviews brings to the surface a deeply embedded theology and its impact on personal well-being. A deeper dive into moral conflict, core beliefs, and values and worldviews is an extremely powerful and effective tool to clarify whether this is true for you or not.
Did you know? There is no such thing as A-theist...
Personal Theology = Moral Compass
Even if you do not subscribe to religion or spirituality per se, your moral compass is inbred in you. Your personal theology was imposed on you through your developmental years from a variety of external sources such as: culture, tradition, family, the education system, (possibly) church as a child, and the community you grew up in. These impositions exist at the core level of your being and although you dropped them off somewhere in your adulthood, they continue to inform your moral compass. There are certain rules and expectations of self that govern your day-to-day living and your worldview and self-understanding are founded on these core roots of your current being. We never really fully rid ourselves of a personal theology.
Fears, assumptions, and social stigmas around mental health care (Psychotherapy)
There was indeed a time when mental health care was negatively perceived and rightfully so. The early stages of psychological theory development involved extremely unethical practices and brought harm to many. However, times have changed and this is no longer true. Ethical and standards of care are now in place to protect the public. Now, however, there remains the residue of social stigmas around mental health care. Mental health care, all too often, implies that you are not strong enough, can not handle it, are weak, have something severely wrong with your ability to function, or you are just outright incompetent. Fortunately, mental health care has come a long way over the past century. Unfortunately, the residue of some of those socialized stigmas and impaired judgments continue to linger around a need or a desire to obtain mental health care, whether it be as a preventative measure or on an “as needed” basis. For the well-being of our communities, shifting these social narratives is vital. There are many reasons why someone might seek out mental health care.
Mental health care as a preventative measure – Self Care
Supplementing your daily functions with additional support through a mental health professional is truly no different than reaching out to a friend to talk about your day, family, work, concerns, or just to talk or vent. The primary difference (and my personal favorite) is that a specialist is non bias, they can offer non-bias insight to your perspective and help you think through some sticky situations in a non-judgmental and compassionate way. This is especially true for self-work.
Another reason for seeking out a mental health professional could be a personal desire to learn more about “self”, in search of a happier and more fulfilled life with meaning. This is often when day-to-day functioning is no longer fulfilling or satisfactory or when one is ready to address the mind, body, and spirit connections for healthier living. Healthy living is much deeper than eating right and exercise.
Mental health care “as needed”
Mental health care “as needed” can result from many, many situations. Sometimes, there can be a clinical reason, such as substance use disorders, survivors of abuse or violence, trauma, severe depression, overwhelming loneliness and despair, etc. When this is the case, compassionate nurturing is key to healing and a mental health professional is better equipped to support such a need.
In either case, seeking out companionship through a mental health professional is a form of self-care. Contemporary times and advancements encourage us to break down these boundaries of assumptions and misunderstood ideas of mental health care.