Integrating Faith &Psychiatry: A Summary

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Psychiatry and faith offer complimentary insights into the human condition and can help us to lead healthier and more satisfying lives, we learned in our seven-part series with Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow, Allan Josephson, M.D. …

To read a summary of those posts, go to The High Calling.

Integrating Faith and Psychiatry, Part 7: Managing Technology @TheHighCalling

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I don’t need the test at the Center for Internet Addiction website to tell me that I spend too much time online. I know I do. But for a web journalist like me, disconnecting for any length of time is unrealistic.

“What are the dangers and what can I do?” I asked Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Allan Josephson, M.D.

Rather than direct me away from the internet, Josephson offered hope for responsibly managing my relationship to it. …

Read the whole thing at The High Calling.

Allan Josephson: Integrating Faith & Psychiatry, Part 6: Finding Balance Between Work & Family @TheHighCalling

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The United States is known for its fast-paced, hard hitting business culture. Many careers demand 60 hour weeks or more if we’re going to succeed and provide for our families. Inherent in this climate is the temptation to worship at the altar of work.

Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Allan Josephson,M.D. knows something about this, not only from treating psychiatric patients, but also from his own experience of juggling a challenging career with family commitments.

As a psychiatric resident, Josephson spent a week living with patients at the Hazelden Chemical Dependency Center in Minnesota. Twelve-step meetings at the center began with introductory statements like “I am an alcoholic” and “I am a drug dependent” and he didn’t battle these addictions, so he introduced himself by saying, “I am Allan Josephson, I am a workaholic.”

He recounted this story in a lecture he gave upon receiving the Oates Award from the Wayne Oates Institute. Oates, an accomplished therapist and theologian, coined the term workaholic.

“He recognized that how we approach work can have an addictive quality to it and have the same effect in our interpersonal relationships and our health,” said Josephson. “Doing things of substance requires so much of us. There are trade offs and as long as you keep your values in front of you, that’s all you can do sometimes.”

As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, Josephson has seen a lot of families broken by disordered priorities. He offers the following suggestions for finding a healthy balance. …

Read the whole article at The High Calling.

Allan Josephson: Integrating Faith & Psychiatry, Part 5: Narcissism & Relationships @TheHighCalling

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Dealing with the narcissists in our lives is never easy, but there is hope for improving these difficult relationships, says Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow AllanJosephson, M.D.

Narcissism develops out of early relationships and is sustained by subsequent ones, so it’s important to nip the problem in the bud. How one does that depends on the nature of the relationship. In this article, we’ll deal with three kinds of relationships: parent/child, husband/wife, and employer/employee. …

You can read more about  narcissism and relationships at The High Calling.

Photojournalism by Explorations Media, L.L.C.

I’ve recently created what I think are some compelling photo sets on Flickr. As a journalist, I prefer realism to photo-shopped images, though artistic renderings can sometimes reveal truth better than fact. I recommend viewing these sets as slideshows, as I’ve arranged each one to tell a story.

Seaside Heights Italian Festival & Columbus Day Parade

Laity Lodge 2011 Writers Retreat

Blue Hole Laity Lodge

Movement Day

Movement Day at Fifth Ave. Presbyterian Church, NYC

New York City Premiere of Machine Gun Preacher

Michelle Monaghan-and-Gerard-Butler

9/11 Tenth Anniversary Memorials

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Jesus, Bombs, & Ice Cream by M.W. Scheller

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Hurricane Irene

Telumundo reporter and others at Pt.-Pleasant-Bch-Boardwalk, 8/27/11

Allan Josephson: Integrating Faith & Psychiatry, Part 4: Work & the Self @TheHighCalling

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Eric had leadership written all over him. Intelligence, good looks, and interpersonal drive had led to an MBA at a major university. When his first business venture failed, he was on to another that succeeded. Several other business successes followed, as did personal leadership projects undertaken at church and in his community.

He was politically active both locally and nationally. His wife and children were also achievers,  but a sense of balance was missing from his life.. He suffered two major depressions in his adult life and another as retirement age approached and he was confronted with financial difficulties and the interpersonal consequences of chronic over-extension. His retirement was forced and he was emotionally adrift.

Disordered Thinking 
“The driver for many who lack balance in their lives is disordered thinking about the relationship of work to self and God,” Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Allan Josephson, M.D. says.

Although he recognizes that striving for a balance between personal and professional domains facilitates development in both, Josephson has something else in mind when he considers this kind of disordered thinking. …

Read the whole article at The High Calling.

What I Wrote This Week @UrbanFaith: September 19-23

Hitchhiker, NYC

Integrating Faith & Psychiatry, Part 3: Narcissism @TheHighCalling

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It goes without saying that narcissists have an inflated view of themselves, one that frequently masks a hidden sense of emptiness and inferiority. What’s not so obvious, according to Laity Leadership Senior Fellow Allan Josephson, M.D., is that those who are in relationship with a narcissist “by definition become depleted or depressed, because life always has to reflect the grandeur, the beauty, the intelligence of the narcissist.”

The key hallmark of narcissism is a lack of empathy, Josephson said. Empathy is when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes as much as is humanly possible and try to understand what their world is like. Good parents empathize with their children, and spouses in healthy marriages empathize with each other.

“Narcissists can’t do it. It’s like they have a mirror in front of their face.  At this extreme, the narcissist’s view is all that matters. ‘It’s all about them,’” he said.

Predictably, relationships for narcissists, both personal and professional, tend to be short lived. …

Read the whole article at The High Calling.

What I Wrote This Week @UrbanFaith: September 12-16

Hitchhiker, NYC

  • Truth at a Beauty Pageant: Miss Universe winner Leila Lopes of Angola highlights her nation’s troubles, says she’s happy with the way God made her, and declares racism so last century. Is her win redemptive?
  • Psalms for Poverty Statistics: The U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report today and the news isn’t good, but the Psalms offer hope to the people of God.

Integrating Faith & Psychiatry, Part 2: Scriptural Principles for Growing Healthy Children @TheHighCalling

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Parenting is hard, and not just because we struggle to balance work and family. The stakes are high. We parents all raise our children, hoping they will become spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and physically healthy adults. We look for answers from pastors, pediatricians, and parenting “experts,” but we should not neglect the wisdom of mental health professionals.

Healthy child development reflects God’s character and purposes, says Laity Leadership Senior Fellow Allan Josephson, M.D., and Scripture provides guidelines that children desperately need.

In his 1994 paper, “A Clinical Theology of the Developmental Process: A Child Psychologist’s Perspective,” Josephson outlines eight areas of child development that not only illustrate his theology, but also offer sound parenting principles.

To learn more about these principles, go to The High Calling.

9/11 Lessons in Civil Religion @NJShorePatch

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Inter-faith messages remind Monmouth County residents who they are.

In Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s model of civil religion, the state is unified and strengthened by public displays of faith that refer to deity, point to the afterlife, draw attention to the reward of virtue and the punishment of vice, and that exclude religious intolerance. Two of the three memorial services I attended on 9/11/11 fulfilled Rouseau’s requirements. The opener fell short. …

To find out what he and others had to say, go to Manasquan Patch. To see photos from the day, go to my set on Flickr.

Jesus, Bombs, & Ice Cream

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Explorations Media sent photographer M.W. Scheller to cover this variety show that was co-hosted by activist/author Shane Claiborne and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen. See the whole photo set here. Christine A. Scheller talked to Claiborne earlier in the week for Urban Faith. This is a bit of what he said about the event:

We planned Jesus, Bombs, and Ice Cream before we realized it was the tenth anniversary of 9/11, but then when we realized it was, we decided that there’s no better way to honor those who died on September 11 and those who are continuing to die now than to try to celebrate the possibilities of another, better world.

Here’s what Claiborne had to say about the event at The Huffington Post.