Psychotherapy & Faith Conference
This November, our conference will address substance use and addiction, which challenges members of the faith community as well as mental health clinicians. Together, faith leaders, psychotherapists, and other clinicians will learn ways to build a supportive community and help each other in helping individuals bridge isolation and overcome despair and unmanageability of the symptoms they experience. Clergy, who are often “first responders,” and clinicians will be provided resources with the goal of fostering more productive synergy for complimentary efforts to aid people with addiction and substance abuse that impairs key areas of their life and health.
A collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, The Menninger Clinic, and The Council on Recovery, this conference brings together practitioners from all areas of mental healthcare to hear discussion on the intersection of religion, spirituality, and mental health.
Date: Friday, November 15
Time: 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Location: The Council on Recovery
303 Jackson Hill St.
Houston, Texas 77007
MEET THE SPEAKERS
History of the Psychotherapy and Faith Conference
By James W. Lomax, M.D.
In the summer of 1992 Dr. William Cantrell retired as an Adjunct Faculty to the “Institute of Religion” and asked me to take his place. I agreed even though I knew almost nothing about the Institute, except its location in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. At my first meeting I met a passionate member of the Institute’s Board of Trustees, Mrs. Loise Wessendorff. Mrs. Wessendorff wanted to start a new conference with a very clear motivation and mission: “Preachers and Doctors don’t talk to each other enough. They should. I want to do something about that!” Loise knew that when people are hurting with emotional distress they often turn to their faith community with important questions about what is wrong with them and what type of help they need. For 24 years the Annual Psychotherapy and Faith Conference has been a forum for mental health professionals and faith community leaders (Clergy, Chaplains, Theologians, and religious study academicians) to discuss shared topics of concern. Topics have ranged from clinical (depression, anxiety, and grief) to powerful emotions and yearnings (faith, hope, and love), to critical activities (child rearing and sanctification--illuminating the sacred in healing relationships). Neither mental health professionals nor clergy are predictably well informed about their counterpart’s perspectives. The conference brings together local and regional faith leaders and mental health professionals, interested laity, and distinguished scholars to discuss topics of common concern. We have the chance to appreciate our diverse conceptual approach in ways that enrich the “practices” of all involved.
It would be hard to say which speakers have been the “most influential.”Loise Wessendorff was especially fond of Gerald May and my beloved mentor Sherv Frazier.Very distinguished mental health professionals like George Vaillant, Ethel Person, and Kenneth Pargament have inspired our audiences on multiple occasions. Richard Kogan’s presentation on Gershwin was a masterful combination of music and narrative that deeply touched and moved the accidence fortunate enough to hear his presentation.