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Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy : How to Talk with People About Their Spiritual Lives - James L. Griffith

Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy

How to Talk with People About Their Spiritual Lives

Paperback

Published: 1st July 2003
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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.

"While the topic of integrating psychotherapy and spirituality has been widely examined for many years, few texts have provided the detailed theoretical rationale, practical techniques, and case studies found in James and Melissa Griffith's "Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy,."..The authors have a gentle, respectful manner of inviting clients to explore spiritual matters. They view psychotherapy itself as a sacred encounter, assuming that spiritual matters will surface when the practitioner listens with an open heart....This book would be of interest not only to psychotherapists but also to a general audience interested in the intersection of religion, illness, and health....The numerous examples of questions to use in exploring various aspects of spirituality will be of practical value to psychotherapists of various orientations. The many clinical examples interspersed throughout the book are its strength."--"Journal of Religion, Disability, and Health""James and Melissa Griffith bring to their material a great deal of experience, clinical skill, and respect for their clients. Numerous case examples demonstrate how the flexibility of their postmodern framework combines well with family systems that would challenge most seasoned clinicians. Through narratives and process selections the reader can understand and follow the rationale for the chosen interventions....this book weaves in skill in assessment and a clear appreciation of the person-in-the-situation in demonstrating a constructivist approach to including religion and spirituality in the therapeutic process. These skills and appreciations enable the authors and the readers to immerse themselves in clients' worlds in arespectful, informed way to help clients determine if and when their beliefs can strengthen their current life."--"Clinical Social Work Journal"
"This book is well structured and easy to read, resourcing psychotherapists with many ingredients, methods and principles to approach talking about the sacred, so as to be "hospitable to all our guests" in our consulting rooms."--"Psychotherapy in Australia"
"Griffith and Griffith not only enter the realm of the sacred from the world of psychotherapy, but they also bring with them the skills of clinical research to report how this entrance was and can be made. In addition, they provide some of the results of those steps. In their approach they unite classroom and clinic, scholarship and application, research and practice, techniques and respect, self-disclosure and spiritual exploration, secular and sacred, and psychotherapy and spirituality. They use proven research designs and methods to illustrate 'How to Talk with People about Their Spiritual Lives.' All is done with the highest of ethical standards and demonstrations of statistically and clinically proven evidences of how this approach leads to positive results in therapy....The authors set forth concepts whereby spiritual resources can and are utilized to live a life beyond the perils of unavoidable sufferings, diseases, shame, guilt, and/or other medical, emotional, and psychiatric distresses."--"American Journal of Pastoral Counseling"
"Readers are provided with much in-depth information as well as many suggestions for questions and reflections. All material is generously illustrated by case vignettes augmented by personal commentaries."--"Journal of Family Psychotherapy"
.,."the current book presents important ideas, pulls together a literature not readily accessible elsewhere, and serves as a useful resource for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in an area about which most of us know very little."--"News For Women In Psychiatry"
.,."remarkable....The book is a wide-ranging survey of the issues that arise when the spirituality of patients becomes a topic of investigation during therapy....The authors write very well, and the book is filled with countless real-world case studies and even some transcripts of counseling sessions that are quite interesting in their own right, not to mention the role they play in illustrating the authors' general themes."--"Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology"
"James L. Griffith and Melissa Elliott Griffith have written a thoughtful, balanced, and often creative work describing not only how to talk about spirituality but also, perhaps more importantly, how to think about and listen to the spiritual dimension of people's lives."--"Psychiatric Services"
"The very style of presentation of the subject matter awakens the reader's sensitivity to the spiritual elements in psychotherapy and to when and with whom it is appropriate to enter into the spiritual domain."--"Pastoral Sciences"
"This fascinating accessible book offers the psychotherapist practical guidance in how to tap into what is for many people an integral dimension of their lives--the spiritual and/or religious....A great strength of this book is that the Griffiths provide detailed explorations of the therapeutic value of each of these through their extensive sharing of client-therapist interactions (withpermission of the clients, confidentiality respected). This affords the reader a wonderful opportunity to be the proverbial but invited fly on the wall in order to learn many things....Very helpful for the reader of this well researched and referenced book is its extensive bibliography and good index. The authors also provide much background material to context what they are doing in this book....Finally, although I am a clinical ethicist with some chaplaincy training and not a psychotherapist, I found this book extremely enlightening, accessible, and thought provoking. My experience thus suggests that there is a wider audience for this excellent work than its most obvious audience, the psychotherapist.--"Metapsychology"
"This book is readily accessible and does not require in depth knowledge of psychiatric or psychotherapeutic theory."--"Ministry Today"

"The authors have a gentle, respectful manner of inviting clients to explore spiritual matters....A valuable section of the book deals with how medical and psychiatric illness/disability may undermine one's spirituality....This book would be of interest not only to psychotherapists but also to a general audience interested in the intersection of religion, illness, and health....The many clinical examples interspresed throughout the book are its strength."--"Journal of Religion, Disability, and Health"


"Once again, as they did with The Body Speaks, James Griffith and Melissa Elliot Griffith have opened a domain--this time, spirituality and religious experience--to 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."--Kaethe Weingarten, PhD, Harvard Medical School and The Witnessing Project, 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

"Freud ushered God out of the therapy room in his search for a scientific psychotherapy. However, leaving religious and spiritual discussions out of our work means that we ignore vital parts of many people's lives. This book suggests that we don't need to remain God-phobic, nor must we become clergy, in order to bring people's spiritual beliefs into therapy. Griffith and Griffith illustrate 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, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Virginia Tech University

"Having spent 35 years caring for persons with progressive, incurable, and fatal illnesses, my double calling as physician and priest has made me see each patient's personal stories of faith as a privileged revelation. James and Melissa Elliott Griffith have now brought this inquiry to a new level of sophistication and art. Showing how people in pain become more alive as we elicit their sacred stories, this book helps the empathic reader learn how to ask the right questions at the right time. Today's doctors and therapists--harassed by the for-profit obsession that now degrades the people who seek our help--will find in this book a powerful antidote to restore the possibility of stellar care delivery."--Ned H. Cassem, SJ, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.

New Ways of Hearing Sacred Storiesp. 1
Opening the Doorp. 28
Metaphor and Spiritualityp. 53
Stories of Spiritual Experiencep. 81
Conversations between Person and Godp. 103
Spiritual and Religious Beliefsp. 137
Rituals, Ceremonies, and Spiritual Practicesp. 164
The Community in Spiritualityp. 189
When Spirituality Turns Destructivep. 215
Living beyond Medical and Psychiatric Illnessesp. 258
Referencesp. 301
Indexp. 313
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781572309388
ISBN-10: 1572309385
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st July 2003
Publisher: Guilford Publications
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.52
Weight (kg): 0.51