Tom Nields-Duffy, a third-year CMHC student, recently led an exploratory discussion, “God and the Talking Cure,” with fellow students. The objective of the brown bag discussion was to explore how God and spirituality might play a role in the work of the psychotherapist.
“The idea for this discussion,” Nields-Duffy explained, “came out of an independent study that I completed with Katherine Clarke, chair of the Department of Applied Psychology. I’ve really come to believe that spirituality is an integral part of who we are and wanted to share this passion with other people in my program.”
He began the experiential group by saying, “The word ‘God’ has many concepts. It’s difficult to use the term because it means so many different things to people.” He posed the question, “How do we make a space for clients that neither excludes God nor demands that God be included?”
Each participant shared their individual stories of how their spiritual background had been fashioned and how that concept had changed or expanded.
Many books on God and spirituality in the therapeutic process were on display for the group.
Nields-Duffy concluded the discussion pointing out that psychotherapists help people make sense out of their experience and sort out their values. “It is important to know and understand the different journeys that people take,” he said.