When an M.Div Is a Turn-Off
I’ve recently begun a new adventure in my professional life. I have joined a new therapeutic community and am building my practice here in Atlanta. I know the statistics. I know that there is a possibility that I will fail, AND there is also this possibility that I won’t. To take this step is huge. In terms of personal growth, it means that I’ve acknowledged the risk and still decided to act in the direction my spirit hopes to go. In discovering different ways to market myself and my unique way of being with clients, I have come across a few insecurities- one of which has to do with my Masters of Divinity degree.
I have begun to wonder, “Is my M.Div a turn-off to people?”
Certainly, I am aware of the ideas surrounding this (or other) theology degree(s). Before I began my studies, I had some of the very same thoughts. Assumptions about political standings, conservative viewpoints, literal interpretations of books and things, etc. exist. We have not even gotten into negative experiences surrounding religious figures…
There are, at the same time, studies that show that spiritual satisfaction and comfort are an important aspect of a meaningful life. There is my belief that individuals are spiritual beings (note: not necessarily religious) and that certain uniquely- trained individuals can help facilitate spiritual exploration.
How can I reconcile the ideas many people hold and my actual position in an online advertisement limited to 50 characters?
I write about it here.
In times where spiritual satisfaction and comfort is changing or missing, therapy can be a helpful mode of working through the feelings surrounding such times.
Clients working through spiritual exploration are often:
• Feeling distant from God
• Experiencing a lack of meaning or purpose in life
• Finding worship to be without meaning and boring
• Withdrawing from a faith community
• Arguing with a partner about religious beliefs or commitments
• Facing prejudice due to religious/spiritual beliefs or commitments
• Making decisions or taking actions incongruent with who they want to be
• Facing criticism from faith communities or other religious persons
• Struggling with religious condemnation for sexual orientation or gender identity issues
• Struggling and processing through trauma and/or mass crises or experiences that do not seem to align with a prior belief in a “loving God”.
• Yearning for some new form of relationship with God or your Higher Power that gives life meaning
What if M.Div meant that I am a calm, non-judgmental presence to all- no matter religious affiliation, belief system, and/or feelings about spirituality as a whole?
What if M.Div meant that I am a person who could help individuals create or re-create their spiritual self and explore what faith might look like to them?
What if M.Div did not bring to mind a picture of one person in power imposing religion on another?
Religions are a foundation for many, and they have also been used to oppress and hurt people. What if M.Div meant I am specially trained to work through pain and anger and loss with those who have had such experiences?
What if M.Div suggested that I am uniquely qualified to sit with people in these uncomfortable spaces, because I too have been there and struggle with these things as well?
What if M.Div wasn’t a turn-off?
Megan Broadhead is a counselor in Atlanta, GA who is entangled in the pursuit of theological and psychological integration. For more information about Megan or her practice, please visit www.meganbroadhead.com