Faith, Spirituality, and Mental Health

Laverne Williams, CSW

This 2-hour workshop will address the synergistic relationship between emotional and spiritual wellness. Participants will develop insight into the barriers which prevent faith communities from accessing mental health services, as well as the importance of assessing and incorporating a client’s spiritual beliefs in the provision of services.

Learning Objectives

  • Address barriers which contribute to underuse of mental health services by faith communities
  • Identify the role of scripture in counseling
  • Apply strategies in outreach to faith communities
  • Describe the ethics of spirituality in therapy

Welcome and Overview
Exploring Barriers
Video and Role Play

Faith principles of diverse populations
Review of relevant scriptures

CEs: 2 Cultural Competence
Level: Intermediate

About the Presenter
Laverne Williams, CSW is the Founder and Director of the PEWS (Promoting Emotional Wellness & Spirituality) Program for the Mental Health Association in NJ for the last 20 years. She has sponsored two “Spirituality and Wellness Conferences” at the Rutgers University’s Newark Campus. The conferences brought together mental health professionals and faith-based leaders to highlight their respective roles in providing mental health care to African Americans. Faith leaders from Baptist, Catholic, African Methodist Episcopal, Unitarian, and non-denominational churches attended the conferences. Mental health professionals from state and local government, community non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and hospitals also attended. The majority of the conference attendees were mental health consumers, consumer providers (i.e., self-help center staff) and lay community members (interested family members of mental health consumers and church congregants). These conferences allowed clergy to develop relationships with mental health professionals and create a reliable referral network.

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