A few words for those of you interested in adding spirituality to your psychotherapy, you who’ve never been fully satisfied, and are still seeking a healing venue. I believe that the human being is an inseparable mind, body, and spirit whole. Therefore, the best results are obtained when we address all these aspects, or as many aspects of interest to you. The more aspects, the more entries into the healing potential, the better the results.
SPIRITUAL Integration: Most often, people coming to therapy are interested in the functioning of the mind and the body. However, there are many other people interested in spirituality who have difficulties finding a therapist able to integrate Christian spirituality without imposing religious concepts on them.
Why CHRISTIAN spirituality? After years of searching a wide variety of psychological, energetic, non-spiritual and spiritual paths, I came to see that there are many spirits in the world, but I have yet to find a more generous and loving spirit than that of the Christ. This is the Spirit that I subscribe to, the Spirit that guides my life and my work: the Holy Spirit, Who is FREEDOM without coercion, FORGIVENESS without punishment, and LOVE without boundaries.
Christian SPIRITUALITY versus religion: Christian spirituality is not religion*. True Christianity is having a true and deep relationship with God: acquiring the Holy Spirit, becoming God-like, and “bearing the fruits” of the Spirit: kindness, patience, joy, and much more. In this way, through the Holy Spirit, we fulfill the divine commandment to extend care and, in time, to come to love ourselves (no matter how wounded we are), and each other (no matter how different they are).
* Spirituality and religion do not have to be separate in your personal life. Infusing your chosen religious rituals with a heartfelt, prayerful relationship with God is a very stabilizing and fulfilling way of life for many people.
The PSYCHOLOGICAL-SPIRITUAL link:
Although people are intrinsically good, we are all wired to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. Therefore, we are prone to misusing our God-given resources, strengths, and energies. We do this by protecting ourselves and seeking easy ways out: blaming others, justifying ourselves, constantly worrying, thinking negative thoughts, letting impulses go unrestrained, making bad choices, hurting our own selves and others– the Bible calls them “sins” or iniquities. I subscribe to the non-punitive definition of “sin” given by the old fathers of the Church: “sin” is everything and anything that separates us from God and love. I dare say that sins are unproductive ways of dealing with pain and suffering due to the breaking of the divine law of love in our own selves and between each other. I like to call them as shortcomings, as in “I am too short to be yet able to reach up to God.”
This lack of love, in its different forms and levels in our society is manifested in psychological ways and is labeled as “diagnosis”: anxiety, depression, bipolar, personality disorders, etc. As much as a diagnosis is useful and necessary, we cannot be reduced to a number- the human being cannot be limited to a diagnostic box or any other box for that matter.
For the Christian or the person interested in Christian spirituality, wanting to surpass themselves, full healing is achieved through prayer of the heart. When the Holy Spirit fills in the heart, no pain will resist its renewing powers! True health then is a restoration of the whole being in the image and likeness of the Creator- freedom, joy, and love. No matter what happened to you or happens around you. The only requirement is to believe that God is not your devastating abuser but Love itself.
Side note: The beauty of psychotherapy is that it can help you let go of the image of God as punisher and hell-giver, especially if you have been wounded by early traumas.