Rick Underwood

Joy and all,

I agree with Joy that Chapter 4 was long and detailed. It was as you pointed out a great example of spiritual care research in the area of depression.  Because it has a more sociological bent to it, I believe a similar project would work well with persons from other faith traditions.  It would be fun although a lot of work to replicate the study with persons of other faiths. The outcomes would be interesting to compare.  The project addressed a concern that some chaplains / spiritual carers have raised about not having time to do research. This participant observer overcomes that concern and demonstrates how doing this kind of research is also providing understanding and caring for the client/ patient/person.

As I long time therapist and one who has struggled with depression, I found the themes that emerged from the research right on target.  I posted on my Facebook page Swinton’s quote on page 131, “Depression is a profoundly spiritual experience. It is a condition that affects a person in their entirety, producing a deep spiritual, existential, physical, psychological and relational crisis that embraces all five dimensions.”  It resonated with a bunch of people.

After reading thus far, I was drawn to Wayne Oates’ book titled, “The Presence of God in Pastoral Counseling” and went back and reread it.  It was written in 1986 as a challenge to a profession that was following one new psychotherapeutic technique after another. One of the great contributions he made to the spiritual care movements was to anchor his integration of psychology and psychiatry in the Judeo Christian biblical tradition.  There are many wonderful insights but the one that has always undergirded my work is the notion that conversations with other is a trialogue and not just a dialogue.  The Presence of the Living God is always present in conversations we have with hurting people. In other places, he referred to these conversations as open-eyed prayer.

Hope others will join us soon.