Robert L. Weber, PhD
Psychologist and Consultant in Private Practice
Director ContemplAging Project
Participant in Psychotherapy and Spirituality Initiative
Phone: 617-492- 7264 x3
PhD, MA (Clinical Psychology); MDiv (Master of Divinity) ; MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching)
For many years now I have been working to integrate spirituality into my clinical practice. My efforts to do so include a basic respect for what spirituality has to offer, particularly in light of the deeper, existential questions of life and the necessity for meaning and purpose in our lives. I have also been very conscious of the fact that spirituality and/or religion can sometimes not be healing in an individual's therapeutic work and may, indeed, contribute to and reinforce the emergence of psychopathology.
My integrative efforts start with my own understanding of spirituality and religion and of what spiritual practice means to me. At the same time, being a psychodynamically-oriented clinician, I try to respect and understand the possibilities and limits of a strict psychodynamic, psychoanalytic approach to the healing process. For years the bias of the psychoanalytic world, rooted in Freud's notion of religion(spirituality) as "illusion," discouraged my being more explicit about the spiritual dimension in clinical practice. Partly, as the years have gone on, I realized that theory, even one as remarkable as psychoanalytic theory, is just a "good guess" and the not the whole truth or reality. There are always more good questions than good answers.
My clinical practice is focused on individual, couples, and group therapy, with an occasional foray into family therapy and family business consultation. In each of these domains I am always very interested in the individual's spiritual/religion and how it serves or does not serve them to live life to the full. So, at the outset of any intake and evaluation I am curious and explicit about this dimension. My chapter in Scott Fehr's book entitled, A Spiritually Informed Approach for the Group Leader, will give you a good, beginning sense of my approach and the background to it. Below I have also included other relevant articles and a list of the courses, workshops and presentations that will give you a better sense of my perspective.
Group therapy is a core of my practice and the spiritual is very much a part of my group work. Last fall I begin a Psycho-Spiritual Issues Group that still continues. Its goal is to provide a context for individuals who are or have been in individual treatment and who want a context to talk more openly and explicitly in a focused manner about spirituality and its value and usefulness in their lives. A corollary goal is to appreciate the fact that good spirituality and good psychological theory and therapy are convergent and compatible, not divergent or conflictual.
One final area of my integrative efforts is focused on the role(s) of spirituality/religion in the face of aging. At this time I am working on a number of initiatives. First, in collaboration with Dr. Erlene Rosowsky, a gero-psychologist who is a member of our faculty, I organized a conference at William James College for the May 15, 2010, entitled "Silent Connections: Spirituality, Mental Health and Illness in Old Age." Second, I am teaching an e-learning course, "Baby Boomers, Spirituality, and ContemplAgeing," for the Tufts University Osher Life Long Learning Institute. Third, in collaboration with my gerontologist colleague at the Medical School of the University of Louisville (Kentucky) I am establishing a program call ContemplAgeing.
www.contemplAgeing.com The goal of the program and practice is to foster, through contemplation, a deepening of the interior and spiritual lives of those who are aging and a greater appreciation of the presence of the sacred in one's life and aging, whatever the particular circumstances of the aging process.