Eastern embodied practices, of which yoga I am most familiar, have long claimed that the body is the ‘main channel for influencing the mind’. Like the mindfulness practices that have become popular as psychological interventions in the last decade, yoga encourages the individual to break habitual embodied feedback loops through a process of introspection on the human body. Although postural yoga has not been taken up to the same extent nor is it as well researched as mindfulness in the human services sector, in a study exploring psychotherapists’ experience of engaging in a regular yoga practice, Valente and Marotta (2005) note that Yoga has potential in increasing participants’ awareness of their bodies, thoughts, emotions and patterns of cognition, as well as calming their central nervous system, reducing anxiety, mental stress and fatigue. Given the importance of reflection in social work practice and the current understandings emerging from the neuroscientific literature, this workshop will explore the importance of the visceral experience of the social work experience and how including an embodied practice like yoga as a ‘tool’ could better prepare social work students and workers to take care of themselves and facilitate improved outcomes for their clients.
Complexity theory is recognised as the New Science that conceptualises the universe as a system of communicating systems. As such, everything in the universe is better understood by exploring the dynamic, nonlinear relationships between the parts that make up the whole. Psychoanalytic Complexity Theory provides a new, but familiar contribution to contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice.
“Reliance on God” is one of the spiritual virtues and a major stage in the ascension toward God’s proximity. Its practice is highly recommended for believers (Kor.26:217). Prophet Mohammad is told: “Put your trust in God, He suffices as a guardian” (33:3). Allah also mentions that true believers put their trust in their Lord (Kor. 8:2). God calls Himself dependable, trustworthy, and manifests Himself throughout the Koran accordingly.
The area of spirituality and health is developing as an academic field of enquiry, and this new perspective is beginning to be incorporated into training programs for medical doctors and health practitioners. A cloud of suspicion hovers over the issue of ‘spirituality’ in the health and therapy professions. Part of the problem arises from the fact that a lot of activities go on under the umbrella term spirituality, and some of these warrant a critical eye. However, as an offspring of the Intellectual Enlightenment, medicine itself has had a materialist bias toward human nature, and until recently has merely bracketed out the spiritual aspects of health and healing.