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OLOGY The Symposium: A Dialogue Between Psychology and Theology

First United Methodist Church – Richardson, 503 N Central Expwy
Richardson, TX 75080 United States
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Convened by the Pastoral Counseling Center

Join us for a dialogue between psychology and theology for mental health professionals and the faith community.

Research indicates the need for a dialogue between the disciplines of psychology and theology. People often go to ministers first when they face a challenge and many clients want to be able to include their faith and spirituality in therapy. The Center is convening psychotherapists, psychologists, ministers, church leaders, congregational care volunteers, and medical professionals to learn about the latest research and thought on the intersection of mental health and spirituality.

Symposium/Lunch: $45.

Symposium/Lunch and 4 hours of CEU credits for LCSWs, LPCs, LMFTs, and Licensed Psychologists: $100. 

Seating is limited.

Symposium Schedule:
8:30      Registration
8:45      Prayer and Why OLOGY?
9:00      Plenary Panel Discussion: What Research Says About Mental Health and Faith
10:00    Attend one of three breakout sessions (see detailed descriptions below)
11:30    Guided table discussions and lunch
12:00    Keynote Address: Dr. Mark McMinn, The Science of Virtue – Why Positive Psychology Matters to the Church
1:30      Dismissal

Sessions include:

Opening Prayer | Reverend April Johnson Bristow, Director, Caring Ministry, First United Methodist Church Richardson

Plenary Panel Discussion | What Research Says About Mental Health and Faith A panel of representatives from the fields of social work, research, psychiatry, and theology will discuss what needs to be said in the dialogue between mental health professionals and those involved in ministry.


  • Dr. Mark McMinn, PhD
  • Dr. Paula Dobbs-Wiggins, MD, Psychiatrist and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pastoral Care, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University 
  • Dr. Holly Oxhandler, PhD, LMSW, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Assistant Professor, Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Baylor University
  • Dr. Marisol De Jesús-Pérez, Licensed Psychologist with the Pastoral Counseling Center

Breakout 1 | Speaking into the Silence: Building Awareness and Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness in the Church
Angela  Whitenhill,  M.Div., LCSW, Mental Health Initiative Manager, National Benevolent Association
Explore cultural norms and stigmas that exist in our congregations about mental health challenges, offer transformative ways to address these stigmas, and discuss practical ways to engage congregational culture to be more welcoming and inclusive of persons with mental health challenges.

Breakout 2 | About Faith: Cultivating Spiritual Competence in Clinical Practice
Dr. Nathaniel Strenger, Dr. Marisol De Jesús-Pérez, Dr. Garrett Woods, Licensed Psychologists on the Center Staff 
Develop an understanding of the relationships between faith, psychology, and social science as a whole. Increase awareness of potential pitfalls in work that “integrates” mental health and faith/theology. Gain insight into specific spiritual competencies and their practical approaches.

Breakout 3 | Adolescent Mental Health: Dealing with Crisis, Encouraging Well-being
Dr. Sarah Feuerbacher, LCSW-S, Director, SMU Center for Family Counseling
Examine families’ mental health issues as related to the success of students, parents, and supportive communities. Look at the impact that the “need to succeed” has on our stress levels, anxiety, exhaustion, depression, self-harm, and suicide particularly as related to the pressures of being overscheduled in the “Rushed Child Syndrome.”

 Keynote Address |

McMinn Book 2.jpg

Keynote Address by Dr. Mark McMinn
The Science of Virtue:
Why Positive Psychology Matters to the Church

Dr. McMinn will guide exploration of several virtues currently being studied in positive psychology, including forgiveness, wisdom, gratitude, and humility, how Christian thought can help refine the constructs being studied in positive psychology, and ways the scientific study of virtue may be helpful in Christian faith communities.


October 4, 2018
8:30 am - 1:30 pm
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Pastoral Counseling Center
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First United Methodist Church – Richardson
503 N Central Expwy
Richardson, TX 75080 United States
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Location Website:
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