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.
"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.