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Past Workshops

Helping People use their Religious Beliefs to Heal

by Dr. Wes Eades

An overview of how religious beliefs can both support and distort the process of healing and change.

6 CEUs offered (3 Ethics)

May 18 & May 25, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., at First Baptist Church, downtown, Waco

Why Does this Workshop Matter?

I will never forget that therapy session several years ago. My co-therapist was a gifted woman – a Ph.D. who taught at a local college. We had never worked together before, and I was looking forward to the new experience. The clients were a married couple. I’d been working individually with the husband. My co-therapist had been working with the wife. On this particular day we were all meeting together. I still recall clearly the angry and astonished look on my co-therapist’s face when the husband declared, “I’ve decided to give my wife permission to go back to school.” I thought she was going to come out of her seat! This talented therapist, who’d helped many women break free of oppressive circumstances, was almost hostile towards the husband for the remainder of the session.

Later, as we were debriefing the hour, we returned to that comment. She was still angry about his controlling attitude. As we discussed the issue it became evident that my co-therapist had never gotten a clear picture of the kind of fundamentalistic religious setting in which both of our clients had been raised. I knew from my work with the husband that his remark reflected a genuine attempt to break free of a religious dogma that was deeply shaming. My co-therapist, who did not have my “religious training,” understood my perspective readily and her attitude towards the husband softened.

Out of this experience I began to ask myself, “How often do talented care-givers unknowingly damage a therapeutic alliance because they simply haven’t been offered a way to assess the religious and spiritual lives of their clients?”

It is from this question, and a few years of practice, that this workshop has evolved. I believe these ideas can help you in your work.


Tuesday, May 18

  • 5:30 – 6:00 pm . . . . . . . Registration and Check-In
  • 6:00 – 7:30 . . . . . . . . . . The Four Basic Questions of Religious-Spiritual Assessment (Including Ethical Implications)
  • 7:30 – 7:45 . . . . . . . . . .  Break
  • 7:45 – 8:45 . . . . . . . . . .   Developmental Perspectives on Religion and Spirituality (Including Ethical Implications)
  • 8:45 – 9:00 . . . . . . . . . .  Questions and Close

Tuesday, May 25

  • 5:30 – 6:00 pm. . . . . . .Check-In
  • 6:00 – 7:30. . . . . . . . . . Understanding Radical Religious Fundamentalism
  • 7:30 – 7:45. . . . . . . . . . Break
  • 7:45 – 8:45. . . . . . . . . . Blessing, Grace, and Incarnation: Three Movements of Spiritual Formation
  • 8:45 – 9:00. . . . . . . . . .Questions and Close

Participants will be able to:

  • Explain key concepts for religious assessment, such as “spirituality, “religion,” and “faith.”
  • Ask questions which creatively challenge clients to understand their religious issues more clearly.
  • Describe the developmental aspects of religion and spirituality.
  • Identify potential counter-transference issues related to the religious and spiritual issues of clients.
  • Identify the ethical implications of the Care-Giver’s personal religious beliefs on relationships to clients and patients.
  • Assess and respond to elements of radical religious fundamentalism in ways that honor professional ethics.

About the Presenter:

Wes Eades earned his doctorate in the psychology of religion in 1989 from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (prior to that institution’s shift toward religious fundamentalism). He is a licensed professional counselor/supervisor and licensed marriage and family therapist (Texas). Wes is also a Fellow with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

Wes’s training has included four units of CPE (clinical pastoral education), which provided experience serving as chaplain on several hospital units, including psychiatric, cardiac, and oncology.

Wes is currently a minister, therapist, and consultant. He has also taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Wes has collected and written various articles which can be found on his website at Although his personal faith background is of the protestant Christian variety, Wes has a deep respect for a myriad of religious traditions. He welcomes the stimulating dialogue that differing views can foster.


This workshop is primarily designed for mental health care professionals.  However, others are welcome to attend at a reduced rate.

  • General Public/Clinicians . . . . . . . $35
    Students and Ministers  . . . . . . . .  $25
    For 6 CEUs (3 Ethics) . . . . . . . add $15 (both evenings must be attended to receive CEUs)

Two Ways to Register

  • PayPal You can register using PayPal by using the Donate page.  Although this will not technically be a donation, this is a convenient way for you to pay using your credit card.
  • Mail You can mail your personal check to Waco Partnership Workshops, P.O. Box 2421, Waco, Texas 76703.

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