Coming Home of AIWP

All the Hemispheres

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out
Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.
Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.
Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.
Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
Chatting
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
You.

- Hafiz
As a Minister of AIWP (www.aiwp.org), I recognize that a spiritual perspective does not preclude or dismiss the wisdom of psychodynamic theories and practice but integrates them into a broader perspective. I understand that psychology without spirituality is too reductive and lacks a certain depth and breadth and spirituality without psychology lacks specificity and concrete solutions to everyday life.

AIWP is fond of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, which reads: "There are as many religious beliefs in the world as there are human beings. This is as it should be." Ministers of AIWP believe our task is to listen and help others find and articulate their own wisdom. This is the purpose of Psycho-spiritual counseling.

Psycho-spiritual connotes an appreciation of the whole person, an honoring of the psychological as well as the spiritual. I do not attempt to minimize suffering by way of spiritualizing anything. I do not believe suffering is the result of someone not being spiritual enough. I know that suffering is real and must be met and lived. I also know that suffering is a profound teacher within a larger context of an individual's overall development. As a pastoral counselor I guide others to see under their defenses, their habituated thinking and their emotional patterns, and increasingly recognize who they are outside the confines of those patterns.

As a Minister performing wedding ceremonies I sit down with the couple and help them design a celebration that communicates who they are individually and as a couple. I only perform weddings for people I spend some time with and get to know. And the same is true for funerals. I would not preside at a funeral if I did not know the individual who had passed or his/her family.

My spiritual point of view is one of inclusion. I find that most of our blocks to spiritual understanding are a function of our attempts to exclude parts of ourselves. We want to eradicate fear, self-criticism, judgments, anger, and sadness along with many other so-called negative attributes. It is this attempt at exclusion, which actually anchors these things we want to get rid of, and perpetuates the endless cycle of disquiet. Roosevelt was wrong. We do not need to ?fear, fear itself?. We simply need to stop running from it, make room for it so we can understand what it is trying to communicate. We have lost the ability to listen, to each other and ourselves.

For further exploration of my thinking, see the Articles page.

My Professional and Educational Background

In 1985, I received a Master's degree in Psychology and in 1997 a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I have been working as a counselor since 1986. As an Ordained Minister I perform the duties and responsibilities of that office including but not limited to pastoral counseling, that is, psycho-spiritual counseling, weddings, and funerals.