Friday, September 21, 2007

Values and Health

As I promised I'm going to do my first installment of blogging about the Baha'i Association of Mental Health Professionals annual conference. This year's conference is called, Human Spirit and the Social World. The focus of the sessions this morning was Values and Health and featured Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, and Jack Guillebeaux who is an international known diversity trainer and educator. Both presentations were remarkable in their own way. Dr. Marquardt, who is herself and adult child of divorce offered a mixture of both data and narrative to dramatize that people have not payed sufficient attention to the spiritual and moral impact of divorce on the inner lives of children. One of the things she helped us to understand is that there is no such thing as a "good divorce" when you consider the experience of the child who has to navigate the two worlds that now exist between their parents and make sense of what that means, often with no support from the adults in their lives. I'll include my notes later tonight, but I just wanted to give you a taste. Jack Guillebeaux had a very engaging style of talking with us and there was much humor. He did a masterful job of discussing the role of mental health professionals in the context of the effort of the Baha'i community to embrace new members, while attending to the spiritual and psychological needs of current members. He reminded us that our training provides us with specific tools that can be used to address the psychospiritual challenges that block many Baha'is from living the kinds of lives they would prefer. I have to run and eat and get ready for chairing the next session which is about Cross-Cultural Paradigms of Health.