Drawing on narrative, postmodern, and other therapeutic perspectives, this book guides therapists in exploring the creative and healing possibilities in clients' spiritual and religious experience. Vivid personal accounts and dialogues bring to life the ways spirituality may influence the stories told in therapy, the language and metaphors used, and the meanings brought to key relationships and events. Applications are discussed for a wide variety of clinical situations, including helping people resolve relationship problems, manage psychiatric symptoms, and cope with medical illnesses.
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James L. Griffith, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at The George Washington University Medical Center, where he directs the psychiatry residency training program and the consultation-liaison psychiatry service. Melissa Elliott Griffith, CNS, LMFT, serves on the psychiatry clinical faculty at The George Washington University Medical Center and practices psychotherapy in Vienna, Virginia. They are both affiliated with the Center for Multicultural Human Services in Falls Church, Virginia.
1. New Ways of Hearing Sacred Stories
2. Opening the Door
3. Metaphor and Spirituality
4. Stories of Spiritual Experience
5. Conversations between Person and God
6. Spiritual and Religious Beliefs
7. Rituals, Ceremonies, and Spiritual Practices
8. The Community in Spirituality
9. When Spirituality Turns Destructive
10. Living beyond Medical and Psychiatric Illnesses
'Once again, James and Melissa Griffith share with readers their particular blend of gentle, curious, and loving inquiry. Rich clinical vignettes are used to illustrate how spirituality and religious experience can contribute to meaning-making in therapy, guiding therapists in making key distinctions and opening up their own conversations with clients. Never preachy, always engaging, this book will be of use to beginning and advanced clinicians in all of the helping professions.' - Kathy Weingarten, PhD, Harvard Medical School and The Family Institute of Cambridge 'This is an important book. Through it, therapists will witness intimate and sacred conversations that will open their hearts and work to new possibilities. The authors' therapy is exquisitely respectful, their writing fascinating and accessible, and their ideas inspiring and practical for therapists of all disciplines and approaches. This book illuminates not one path but many to take in talking meaningfully with people about the spiritual and religious dimensions of their lives.' - Jill Freedman, MSW, Evanston Family Therapy Center 'Leaving religious and spiritual discussions out of our work as psychotherapists means that we ignore vital parts of many people's lives....[This] book illustrates how spiritual beliefs and experiences can be resources for healing in a wide range of contexts: recovery from abuse, trying to solve relationship dilemmas, coping with chronic pain and illness, and even making the decision to take medication for emotional illness. At the same time, the authors do not shy away from the hard questions....How can a therapist work with people whose beliefs present obstacles to cure? What can we do when belief is used to justify cruelty or abuse? This book strikes a deep chord because it gives voice to something that many of us know has been missing from psychotherapy. This is a book every therapist needs to read.' - Eric E. McCollum, PhD, Virginia Tech University
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