Body, Mind and Spirit - New Approach to Healing Draws on Science and Spirituality

Conference on the integration of spirituality and medicine

The Grace Counseling Center in Madison, N.J., Drew University, Madison, N.J., and Morristown Memorial Hospital of Morristown, N.J. jointly sponsored a conference in 1998 on the integration of spirituality and medicine, which many health professionals now believe can significantly enhance healing.

Grace Counseling Center is a faith-based counseling facility staffed with pastoral counselors, psychiatrists and social workers.

The conference, "Partnerships in Healing: Faith, Medicine, and Mental Health," was based on the premise that a dialogue among faith, medicine, and mental health professionals is needed to help bring about a new approach to healing based on contemporary scientific research and ancient spiritual wisdom.

Key Results

  • The conference was held on October 2 and 3, 1998 at Morristown Memorial Hospital, and attracted 270 attendees, mostly local professionals who heard six nationally prominent speakers lecture on the most recent developments on integrating spirituality and healing in professional practice. Herbert Benson, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in behavioral medicine, mind/body studies and spirituality and healing was the keynote speaker.

    The scheduling of discussion sessions and the involvement of a "scholar/observer" who helped frame questions for conference discussion encouraged structured, productive dialogue among attendees.

    The conference addressed the following topics:
    • Emerging trends in the mind/body/spirit field.
    • Practical strategies to implement insights from mind/body/spirit research.
    • Methods used to successfully integrate spirituality and healing.
    • A paradigm for a new medicine that would combine the precision of modern science with the wisdom of ancient healing.
    • Western and Eastern religious views of the healing process.
    • Ways to enhance the treatment of cancer patients through the mind/body/spirit approach.

The conference also demonstrated the need for a continuous high-quality dialogue among faith, medicine, and mental health professionals on these topics. As a result, the sponsors are exploring the possibilities of making the conference a biennial event and of implementing training programs for both professionals and lay people on the integration of spirituality and healing.

Funding


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided a grant of $10,000 in October 1998, which covered approximately two-thirds of the Grace Center's contribution to the conference budget.

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