Spiritual Growth & Spiritual Healing
Board Certified Clinical Psychologist
& Certified Group Psychotherapist
Practicing some form of contemplative practice has been important to me for years. A recent psychotherapy outcome study found that outcomes are significantly better when psychologists have a meditation practice. When I became interested in including spiritual growth into my work with clients in 2000, I sought out the most intensive training I could find in spiritual issues and spiritual healing and discovered the Jaffe Institute of Medical and Spiritual Healing. I graduated from the Jaffe Institute’s three-year program in 2003 and received my masters degree in spiritual ministry from the university in 2007. I was an assistant teacher in 2005-06.
I’m open-minded and have a passion for working with spiritual issues, so I can usually meet you where you are in your journey and belief system to allow spiritual growth and deep spiritual healing. My earlier assertion that “change happens in relationship” can be taken to another level when the relationship is the one between you and the Divine Presence. Though certainly spiritual healing or spiritual growth can occur in an encounter solely between you and the Divine, the presence of a human container is still often very important and helpful. In a similar way to what I described above, a therapist with the appropriate training can hold the space and guide you into deeper levels of the heart, which can be described as the soul and spirit. Some of the beliefs and pictures (that come from memory or imagination) that block our spiritual growth and keep us from our divine selves and from connection with the Divine, are stored in the body. In an attempt to defend ourselves from the pain that inevitably happens in life, we increasingly are drawn into the outer world and lose awareness of the inner world of peace, beauty, and love. As we listen to the voices of our scared/hurt selves, we establish beliefs such as “I’m alone,” “I’m damaged,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I don’t deserve love.” In a secure relationship, we can address these spiritual issues by putting our attention into the feelings and sensations in the body which hold the painful memories and destructive beliefs, and we can open them for exploration and spiritual healing.
I have heard much evidence to suggest that physical suffering is sometimes a reflection of spiritual issues, and that healing at the deeper levels can support one’s physical recovery, even from disease (though in the case of a physical illness or injury, I would encourage you to seek medical advice and treatment as well as looking into the subtle spiritual issues that may be behind it). Spiritual healing (sometimes called energy healing) occurs when one opens up the places that are in need of healing, physical or emotional, to the Divine Presence, by invoking the name of God or your place for Divine strength and peace. Holding at the same time the awareness of the pain and the awareness of God’s response to you creates spiritual healing and physical recovery. It is showing the Divine your view of things (“I’m worthless”) but being willing to get a second opinion, willing to listen deeply to the voice of Love. Attending the University of Spiritual Healing & Sufism taught me that spiritual growth, moving closer to God, and purifying the heart of illusionary pictures and attachments are the same thing.
If we include spiritual healing in our work (at your request) I will continue to make my psychological knowledge available to you. I find my psychological and my spiritual understandings very compatible, and some clients choose to utilize a combination of approaches. I would also be happy to help you locate other spiritual resources. Some people who would like some help with spiritual issues are not necessarily in need of psychotherapy. I’m very impressed with the work of several other spiritually-oriented psychotherapists in Austin, notably my son-in-law John Howard (www.AustinProfessionalCounseling.com), who is a gifted spiritual teacher.