Surrender and behold

Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains a solitary grain.

(John 12:24)

We witness the power of surrender every day in our therapy practices.

Clients come to us having taken their lives as far as they can on their own. Perhaps they've been drawing strongly on one part of themselves -- a self-reliant part, a compliant part, a dissociative part. For years, they needed this strategy to survive. But now they are collapsing beneath the consequences of this strategy's ways and means. One client's self-reliance has left her lonely and exhausted. Another's compliance has left him uncertain of who he is and angry at his sense of powerlessness. Yet another's dissociation has too long kept her in relationship with great harm.

And now it is clear. The approach that got him them far will not work any more. If they continue to trust only this part of themselves, they will not make it.

They can carry on as before, double down on the strategy that got them here, and hope for the best. Or they can surrender. Trust some power other than the one that got them into this mess. Fall to the earth and die.

Part of what we love about this work is witnessing the faith that happens in people who've come to the end of the way they've always done it and the new life that grows from surrender.

We are watching something very similar happen in the Southeast Region, and it is inspiring to see.

Two years ago we came to the end of the way we've always done it. It became clear that our habituated practices as an organization had led us to a dead end. Some of us saw it coming. Most of us were surprised. We've grieved, groused, prayed, dreamed, surveyed, town-hall-ed, laughed, cried, and - in some ways - died.

And look - just look! - at the new life emerging among us.

  • We had our largest Kanuga attendance in over 10 years. Last month over 100 people attended our first-ever onlinewebinar, Bill Harkins' delightful conversation with Fr. Richard Rohr.

  • We expect an even larger turnout at our next webinar, with Thomas Moore, on May 19.

  • Robert Cooke is leading a theological case consultation group online.

  • Workgroups are actively meeting and working on:

- planning next year's Kanuga,

- developing local continuing education events,

- writing curriculum for a certificate program in spiritually-

- integrated psychotherapy,

- building a registry for supervisors,

- reaching out to support our members,

- planning a major conference for Spring 2018.

  • Several communities have local chapters meeting.

  • We have a continuously improving regional website.

  • This newsletter has been happening monthly since August.

  • We have lowered our membership dues.

And more.

Would any of this be happening had our previous strategies notfailed us? Would we be enjoying any of this new life had we clung tightly to the old? Who knows.

But we give thanks for the faith that has brought us this far. And we pray that as we encounter further opportunities for surrender, which we surely will, faith will be there, again, to help us forward.

Let it be so.


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We are a welcoming community of therapists and other professionals grounded in diverse spiritual traditions and communities of faith. Informed by research and science, we offer education, connection, and support for those engaged in vocations of compassion, transformation, and healing.

We invite all healing practitioners – pastoral counselors, psychotherapists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, ministers, coaches, physicians, nurses, public health workers, students in training in these professions, and others – to join us in this good work. ​ ~Adopted 2016

© 2016 by AAPC SE REGION