Did you grow up with religion in your family, with expectation that you would follow along without complaint even though you were not happy? Have you experienced trying to ask deep spiritual questions only to have the answers not be what you needed? Did you find a life partner or spouse who was of a different spiritual path than your own, creating confusion or conflict for you? Or have you held a very strong faith that has sustained you, only to face a life crisis of some sort that leaves you feeling that God is not answering your prayers or feels entirely absent? Maybe you have found a way to focus and find spiritual strength on the inside, but this feels far away now.
IFS is a psychotherapy that is spiritually grounded in an extremely broad, open, non-religious sense. As you experience IFS with me, you may notice similarity to what the different world religions offer in their own ways – increased calmness, peace, confidence, courage, creativity, patience and compassion among other benefits gradually growing inside of you. Christians may find this to feel like the gifts of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, self-control. And if you follow a particular religion, I imagine you will find IFS aligning with what you find to be the divine, drawing on your soul or spiritual center and your core where there is calm energy and self-compassion.
I have accompanied people of all kinds of faith from New Age to Buddhist to Catholic to Jewish to Native American to “Spiritual but not religious”. I have also had long discussions with people who identify as Agnostic and Atheist. I am a Lutheran pastor with trust in God’s love and grace, so Christianity makes sense to me and I hope you will feel that grace from me. But if you are my client, I will be most curious about what makes sense to you, supporting what you believe and accompanying you with the questions you may have. I do not bring a spiritual agenda, though if it is helpful to you, I will draw on Christian scripture and beliefs, and I will pray for you if you ask me to. I expect to learn from you as you share what you believe or do not believe, and I will hold a safe space for whatever you want to process. I believe that whatever feels like it is the spiritual side for you, however you experience that or define it, is as important as your physical and emotional sides. And I am open to points of mystery where we might all be invited to say we do not fully understand. I hope you will feel welcome and bold to include your spiritual side in therapy if that is helpful for you!