Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thoughts of a Therapeutic Theologian


My name is Annie and I'm a 27-year-old who has finally completed her academic endeavors (never say never...) after 24 years of being in school. I now hold a Masters in Theology from the Echo Program at the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Marriage and Family from Indiana Wesleyan University. Since I began studying psychology and theology in undergrad at Saint Mary's College, I knew I wanted to integrate the two. I foresaw this integration happening in practice and reflection. This blog is the beginning of my professional reflections.
As I'm fresh out of school and preparing for the licensure exam, I wanted to continue to share my love for writing and theological reflection in a blog format. I received professional support from my supervisor and spiritual/inspirational support from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. One of my favorite ways to pray is trying to attend Mass during the week in addition to Sundays. If you attend Mass everyday for 3 years, you can cover the whole Bible! 
As the Christmas season has passed, the Church celebrates Ordinary Time. For most, this sounds like it is not exciting. Who wants to be ordinary? Well the ordinary and routine aspects of life is what fills our schedules each day. 

As an Echo Apprentice working in a parish, I had the opportunity to invite people to find God in the ordinary. As a resident marriage and family therapist, my job is to listen to how people live in the ordinary and help them manage stress, anxiety, and depression that overwhelm them everyday. 

I believe both of these jobs are similar and as a Christian, I believe the jobs are inseparable. I believe that we are made in the image of God and that God became man in Jesus Christ to experience humanity fully and to teach us how to navigate the ups the downs of being human and living in a society with others. Narrative therapy has resonated with me in my work as a therapist. In my final paper to receive my lay ministry certificate in college, I wrote about how I minister through story-telling. I enjoy Thomas Groome’s quote about bringing “faith to life and life to faith.” As a Christian therapist, I want to help people see their story in the Christian story and the Christian story in their story. Sometimes I can do this explicitly and sometimes implicitly just by listening. Everyone has a story to tell and by telling, retelling, externalizing, and re-authoring it, we can find great meaning in our stories. 

In this blog I plan to reflect on how we can connect our personal stories with the stories of the Bible. I’m sure there will also be some miscellaneous reflections as well. Perichoresis is my favorite theological term so it had to fit somewhere in the title of this blog. It is the "divine dance of love within the Trinity." Since my profession will be a dance between therapy and theology, I thought it was a fitting title. I love to dance and I hope you enjoy joining me as you step, twirl, and maybe even dip through this blog. Enjoy and please feel free to comment, share, or contact me. 

If you live near Indianapolis and know someone looking for a counselor who can integrate faith in sessions or can simply respect their faith and spirituality, you can schedule an appointment with me (Anne) at Family Counseling Associates at 317-585-1060 Ext. #3510 or email me at Thanks for any prayers or referrals.

1 comment:

  1. good blog, I'm very glad you defined "perichoresis"