by The Rev. Dr. Jerry F. Smith, S.T.D., WPCA President
What if you had a magic carpet that would take you to anywhere in the universe? Well, you do!
Let me explain. On many credit cards there is a little silvery picture. When you tilt it seems to move and be three-dimensional—it’s a hologram. Holograms are different from the usual two-dimensional pictures you can take or can hang on your wall. If you were to cut a square out of a two-dimensional image and somehow project it, you would get the exact content of that square. If you cut a square out of a hologram and project it, you will get an exact replica the whole, entire, 3-D figure.
But, you ask, how did you get from credit cards to the universe? I recently viewed a youtube video entitled, “The Universe as a Hologram” by Leonard Susskind.
Dr. Susskind is a world class theoretical physicist and he and his colleagues think that black holes and the universe we live in, are holograms. That is, any place you are in a black hole or in this universe, with the right equipment, you can get to any other place because they’re all inter-connective systems.
Since the beginning of time humans have had “holographic” visions. People we call saints and/or holy ones have related these visions up until the present day. I have a friend, who I can swear is psychologically sound, who told me that they “saw and traveled to” the afterlife and this universe, in all their dimensions, just last week.
How does this apply to systemic counselors and their patients? I use the term “systemic counselors” to mean counselors who see all things as systems where all of the parts are related to every other part and affect everything in the system. If you have a systemic pastoral counseling viewpoint, you are capable of entering any place in a patients’ world, with access to any other part of their world.
This systemic perspective is invaluable when working with an individual, a couple, a family, or a group. Systemic pastoral counselors can observe the seemingly most trivial statement, act, or thought and connect it to the core of the issue. That being done, they can help their patients access resources that can lift them out of their problem. This is a far cry from the evidence-based, manualized, or prescriptive counseling that dominates our field.
I can share a clinical example. A colleague was sitting with a family—Chuck, the father, Rosemary, the mother, Andy, the 19 year old son, and Judy, the 15 year old daughter. Judy came in with tears in her eyes, but was mute. After the usual pleasantries, Rosemary mentioned, in passing, that a letter came in the mail today. Obviously, something had gone on before they got to my colleague’s office, but they were mum about it. Among the chit chat Judy kept dabbing at her eyes. Finally, my colleague asked, “You mentioned a letter. What did it say?” And ALL HELL BROKE LOSE!
A simple question, but the answer contained the family’s black hole and the whole universe of suffering they shared.
We at WCPA enthusiastically celebrate every one of you who practices in this way. And we wish you wonder-filled journeys as you ride your magic carpet into your adventures.
Write and tell us about where you are making a difference.
With warmest blessings, Jerry