Spiritual Threads in Psychotherapeutic WorkWith Module Speakers:
Dr Alexandra Dent, Dr Angela Cotter, Dr Paramabandhu Groves, Dr Tim Read, Elizabeth Wilde McCormick, Isabel Clarke, Dr Judith Pickering, Les Lancaster, Dr David Lukoff, Professor Jeremy Holmes, Professor William West, Rabbi Howard Cooper, Ruthie Smith, Viv Fogel, Rev Canon Susannah Izzard, ,
Freud described psychoanalysis as “…the science of the soul”, a phrase which suggests a healer’s concern with integrating the experience of suffering. Traditionally, the search for meaning, and solutions to existential anxieties has been the domain of theologies, with psychotherapy taking a peripheral interest in those concerns. But in increasingly consumerist societies, where fewer people define themselves as religious, patients increasingly bring transpersonal and spiritual concerns to their sessions. How should we respond?Read More...
This package of resources provides 19 hours of CPD on a range of clinical perspectives to help practitioners integrate spiritual ideas and approaches into their work. It combines a rich archive of:
- Audio and video lectures and presentations
- Interviews and discussions
- Demonstrations and supervisions
- First-hand accounts
- Comprehensive study guides
Among the many topics covered in the module, our speakers explore:
- Exploring how practitioners have followed or diverged from theology in approaching the therapeutic search for meaning
- Considering how a spiritual healing approach can be included in therapy if needed by the client
- Providing skills for working with survivors of religious cults
- Distinguishing between clinical psychosis and spiritual crisis
- Examining how to work with clients who have experienced their spirituality as a cause of suffering
- Allowing space in our thinking for the religious client
- Contemplative and meditative approaches to being present in the session
Dr Alexandra DentExample of Introducing Heart Led Psychotherapy to a Client
In this audio recording, Dr Alexandra Dent explains and explores her Heart Led approach with one of her clients.
Audio with slides – 35 mins
A Discussion of the Heart and Soul Led Approach to Psychotherapy.
In this video talk with slides, Dr Alexandra Dent discusses the ideas and techniques in her recently published book and argues that working with the heart and or soul enables clients to speed up their trauma processing and also make more rapid shifts in troubling relationship patterns.
Video with slides – 1 hourRead More About The Speaker
Dr Angela CotterDreaming the Dream that is Dreaming Us. The Lived Experience of High Intensity States in Practice
In this video talk, Dr Angela Cotter explores the lived embodied experience of high intensity states from the therapist’s perspective. Her first experience of high intensity states occurred when she was a nurse, often when people were dying or very seriously ill. It was in part these experiences which led to analysis and training because there was little discussion of them then within the nursing arena. Negotiating these states – deciding whether to stand on the borders of them or enter the country, if and when there is a choice, has been a major aspect of Angela’s clinical work and research since then. Arguably, in some ways these states are unique to each individual client and therapist but there are common threads. The paper is illustrated with theoretical material from the Jungian world, Celtic shamanism and energy psychotherapy. Angela also looks at these states as experienced within a group setting – drawing on systemic ritual, a combination of family and systemic constellations and shamanic approaches.
Video with Slides – 38 mins
How Shamanism Can Offer New Therapeutic Perspectives While Respecting Older Traditions
In this video presentation, Dr Angela Cotter starts with Jung’s discussion of shamanism and why he saw this focus as important for our time. She will then move on to her own training in Celtic and other forms of shamanism, where the former is one of the approaches in the UK nearest to an indigenous tradition and speaks to her own heritage. Her paper traces her personal journey through working with dream-like trance states of consciousness with specific clients to a more integrated approach within her clinical practice. Drawing on these insights, focuses on how other psychotherapists can use shamanic approaches, and the training that is needed to do this.
Video – 42 minRead More About The Speaker
Dr Paramabandhu GrovesMindfulness for Mental Health and Well Being
Dr Paramabandhu Groves’ audio presentation with slides covers the Buddhist origins of mindfulness, its integration into western psychiatric treatment from the 70s onwards and contemporary research that shows its particular effectiveness in helping with treatment-resistant depression and addiction.
Audio talk with slides – 39 mins
A Discussion of Mindfulness-based Treatment of Mental Health Conditions
Dr Paramabandhu Groves discusses how his interest in Buddhism and mindfulness developed. He explores in depth how some of its concepts can be used by clinicians to understand human suffering and also how to reduce and heal it. He also gives an overview of the extensive research assessing the effectiveness of mindfulness in supporting people with a range of mental health conditions, including psychosis.
Video with slides – 53 minsRead More About The Speaker
Dr Tim ReadThe Numinous, the Shadow and the Unborn
Expanded states of consciousness are found in everyday life, in crisis, in psychiatric emergencies and in spiritual emergence. These states can be beautiful or terrifying, sacred or dread-filled. They can cause breakdown but, if carefully negotiated, they carry enormous potential for accelerated psychological development. We may enter such states spontaneously or we may choose to enter them to seek psycho-spiritual growth. Any serious work with expanded states of consciousness must be fully committed towards supporting any problematic manifestation of the numinous towards its natural conclusion. Dr Tim read discusses the implications of the new era of clinical research using psychedelics and describes holotropic breathwork – a non-drug method of inducing expanded states of consciousness developed by the psychiatrist Stanislav Grof.
Video with slides – 36 mins
The Healing Power of Non-ordinary States of Consciousness
This video talk with slides looks at the non-ordinary states of consciousness that are also found in everyday life. Traditionally shamans have walked between the two worlds of everyday and non-ordinary consciousness; nowadays we have a range of techniques available to assist our explorations. But where do these journeys take us? The parallels with shamanic journeying and the potential of modern psychotherapy are considered by Dr Tim Read
Video with slides – 45 minsRead More About The Speaker
Elizabeth Wilde McCormickInterview with Elizabeth Wild McCormick on Working Transpersonally with the Wounded Child
In this video talk, Elizabeth Wilde McCormick discusses her approach to psychotherapy, which incorporates the spiritual practice of contemplation. Elizabeth explains how her approach can facilitate work with clients whose life experience and or faith has brought them to a point where personal growth is needed in order to re-establish a sense of safety, agency and purpose in the world.
Video interview – 30 mins
A Supervision Demonstrating the Contemplative Approach
Elizabeth Wilde McCormick supervises Vanessa Murphy demonstrating how a contemplative approach can help therapist and client move beyond language and towards sharing what emerges between them in the present moment.
Video talk – 28 minsRead More About The Speaker
Isabel ClarkeAcross the Threshold. A New Way of Understanding Psychosis (and Spirituality)
In this audio talk with slides, Isabel Clarke explores why it is that some people adjust to life transitions whilst others find themselves in a different dimension, one often labelled psychosis. From her extensive clinical frontline NHS experience, psychologist Clarke argues that all humans possess two modes of experience that she calls shared reality (everyday) and non-shared experience (transliminal). Her talk offers a non-judgemental way of understanding people who hear voices and have other unusual perceptual beliefs, as well as recommendations on how to keep them safe and support them through what can potentially be a growth experience.
Audio with Slides – 42 minsRead More About The Speaker
Dr Judith PickeringSpirituality and the Apophatic Way of Unknowing in Wilfred Bion
In this audio talk based on her recently published book, Dr Judith Pickering introduces the influences on Wilfred Bion’s theoretical advances in psychoanalysis. Influenced by his childhood in India, and subsequent experiences of separation, trauma and loss, Bion became interested in the healing power of a knowledge that was beyond words. Judith outlines the founding spiritual schism in psychoanalysis and traces the parallels between Bion’s thinking and the Christian Mystical Philosophical tradition.
Audio lecture – 59 minsRead More About The Speaker
Les LancasterThrough Darkness to Light: On Suffering and Authenticity in the Psychospiritual Journey
In this audio talk Professor Les Lancaster shines a light in the esoteric wisdom of Kabbalah and the extent to which the ‘talking cure’ of psychoanalysis is founded on the way this spiritual tradition creatively uses words to go beyond language and create dynamic meaning.
Audio talk with slides – 48 minsRead More About The Speaker
Dr David LukoffWhat Aspects of Spirituality Need to be Addressed in Psychotherapy and in the Larger Arena of Healthcare?
In this video with slides, Professor David Lukoff shares his personal experience of spiritual emergence and details how his lived experience propelled him into a life researching the distinctions between psychosis and a spiritual crisis, work that eventually led to the DSM-IV accepting the new category of ‘Spiritual Emergency’.
Video with slides – 32 mins
Spiritual Competency and Q & A
This Q and A covers Professor Lukoff’s research into psychotherapeutic spiritual competency, and how this skill is actually an aspect of more accepted professional ethical obligations, such as respect for diversity and working with the client’s own agenda.
Video with slides – 24 mins
A Live Spiritual Assessment
In this live assessment with Confer’s producer Louise Smith, Professor David Lukoff demonstrates how broach the subject of spirituality with clients and how to explore with them what aspects of their beliefs might be a source of resilience and comfort during the psychotherapeutic process. Accompanied by a detailed assessment Pdf.
Video with PDF – 16 minsRead More About The Speaker
Professor Jeremy HolmesSecular Spirituality: An Attachment/Psychoanalytic Viewpoint
In this video talk with slides, atheist Dr Jeremy Holmes reflects on the human impulse towards religion and spiritual belief and discusses how God, as a reflection of a good internalised object, can be a great source of support and solace during life’s inevitable losses and trials. Other concepts of God, as punitive or all seeing, could reflect adaptive attachment responses such as anxious or insecure and result in phenomena such as fundamentalism that Holmes refers to as ‘defensive spirituality.’ Holmes is an advocate of what he calls ‘secular spirituality’, a form of being in contact with the self that is beyond words, but that can embrace not just the concept of God but also nature, art, music, literature and dance – anything that is sensed as beautiful and not of the self.
Video Talk with Slides – 1 hour 15 minsRead More About The Speaker
Professor William WestDiscussion on Spiritual Experience and the Value of Spirituality in the Therapeutic Encounter
This video with slides features a wide-ranging discussion with Professor William West about the nature of spiritual experience, the personal roots of his own therapeutic interest and how to work with one’s own and clients’ spirituality. The conversation also touches on language and definitions and the extent to which mainstream psychotherapy, through its use of scientific terminology, may be unhelpfully pathologizing universal (if unusual) human perceptual experiences.
Video with slides – 55 minsRead More About The Speaker
Rabbi Howard CooperSpiritual Trauma: A Jewish Perspective
In this wide-ranging audio talk, Rabbi Howard Cooper discusses how a natural and intrinsic yearning for attachment can cause us to seek meaning and security from a God figure. However, he argues, that whilst monotheistic religions can offer some measure of meaning and security, the price believers pay is the demand to exclude all other Gods. Cooper believes this inevitably leads to a cycle of alienation and violence, a cycle that also merely mirrors the internal split in our own psyches, which is forever straining under the competing command to love and hate. Cooper aims to guide his clients beyond a simplistic, childish and fearful idea of God towards an exploration of other possibilities that might then prove useful to our own growth and capacity for connection.
Audio lecture with slides – 40 minsRead More About The Speaker
Ruthie SmithSpiritual Trauma and the Abuse of Power in Cults
Ruthie Smith is a former member of a Tibetan Buddhist organisation which evolved into a cult. She is now a Psychoanalytic and Energy Psychotherapist. Here she gives a detailed account of the psychological techniques cults use to exert coercive control over their members and also shares insights on how insecure attachment can draw people to manipulative group leaders who often epitomise the concept of ‘spiritual bypass’ – where split off emotion in the name of holiness can lead to narcissism and violence.
Video interview – 87 mins
Ruthie Smith Interviews Cult Survivor Magdalene
Video interview – 1 hour 25 minsRead More About The Speaker
Viv FogelPortals and Pathways: Accessing the Messages from the Unconscious
In this talk Viv Fogel reflects on how high intensity states, often arising from early trauma, can be experienced as either life-negating or life-affirming, and containing a struggle between them. They can manifest in the dream-body, somatically, energetically, interpersonally, creatively and transpersonally – embodied, or dis-embodied, ancestral, transgenerational or archetypal – and often holding encoded messages which can be accessed without re-traumatization. Weaving stories from clients and her own journey Viv demonstrates ways of engaging with these energies whether internal or archetypal, also touching upon how clients can create energetic boundaries and the portals through which the ‘wise unconscious’ or the numinous can be discussed.
Video lecture with slides – 40 minsRead More About The Speaker
Rev Canon Susannah IzzardDisillusionment with God
Therapists often find themselves ill equipped to engage with the spiritual wounds that may emerge in therapy. If such wounds are not spoken of nor explored, there is a danger that the client’s spirituality remains an unopened and undeveloped compartment in their psyche. In this presentation, a range of wounds will be talked about, mainly those concerned with issues of self-worth, acceptance and punishment. A particular vehicle for spiritual wounding can be the client’s image of God. Such images may be life affirming, but when God is viewed and internalised as wrathful, restrictive and judgmental, such an imago exacerbates deep shame, guilt and psychological distress. Moments of spiritual crisis can occur when our image of God receives a blow, and we become disillusioned and spiritually traumatised. Such a loss of trust is profoundly devastating, and difficult to talk about. Working with such issues, there comes a point where a choice has to be made. The client may choose (unconsciously or consciously) to remain attached to a harsh image of God that cannot support and accompany him or her into the complexity of their psychological distress or see such trauma as an opportunity for spiritual growth. This talk explores how psychotherapy can support the patient on this journey.
Audio with slides – 56 minsRead More About The Speaker