In the past, I was approved by the Academic Dean of the Jesuit School, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California to provide both psychotherapy and spiritual direction. I am not certified as a spiritual director. I have studied both theology and Eastern philosophy, and have the experience of practice as a Catholic and as a Buddhist. I have studied and trained in Zen Buddhism on and off for over 25 years. I trained under Robert Aitken, Roshi for the last six years before he retired (1991 through 1996), and have had experience at the Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland and the San Francisco Zen Center, Green Gulch Farm, Mill Valley, California.
In spiritual direction we address your past religious and spiritual history, interests, and study. Particular attention is given to personal, psychological and spiritual growth, including a focus on classic virtues. Attention is also given to the implementation of particular spiritual practices such as: prayer, meditation, simplicity, solitude, study, service, fasting, ritual, worship, guidance, and community. The beginning or continuation of a regular home spiritual practice is an agreed upon part of entering into spiritual direction.
For those who do not already have a mindfulness or meditation practice, instruction is available. Mindfulness is the practice of retaining a non-judgmental acceptance of sensory input while limiting and letting go of the distractions of past, future, and other cognitive overlays such as judgments, opinions, analyses, preferences,expectations, projections, and discriminations.
“Just as the wings of the waterfowl do not get wet even when it enters the water, one must establish a mind that will continue a true ... meditation without interruption, neither clinging to nor rejecting the object of the senses.” Albert Low in Hakuin on Kensho
Meditation instruction is for a sitting meditation in Buddhist form. The scientific and neurological research on the effects of mindfulness and meditation is now both conclusive and impressive. No fee is charged for meditation instruction. A gift or “dana” is accepted.
Each of these areas has a completely different focus. If a client has a particular religious orientation, we will explore your faith history and development and also integrate religious beliefs and issues into the psychological work. The existential area includes exploration of the existential issues of willing, responsibility, meaning, isolation, and death. This focus includes an exploration of each area theoretically and personally, and the delineation of emotions, fears, goals and specific actions that need to be taken in each area. A spiritual focus includes a history of faith and spirituality, exploration of beliefs, psychological resistance and spiritual hindrances, study, and the establishment of a specific and defined spiritual practice.
I provide psychotherapy as a licensed psychologist. When the client is interested, I integrate religious, existential, and spiritual issues into the psychotherapy process. This enables a very rich content for therapy. I consider psychological work to be a prerequisite to spiritual development. Stages of growth fall into these categories: disorder and addiction, existential issues, and spiritual growth and development. Related to the latter, attention is given to beginning and maintaining a specific and defined spiritual practice.