Kamal Hourani is a first year student in the Religious Studies Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR) is an organization endorsed by the Assembly of Bishops that provides sustenance, dialogue, and growth for Orthodox Christians in professions that minister to the health of their fellow human beings. OCAMPR stresses the symbiotic relationship between incarnational, kenotic theology and healing of the person. Their annual conference, “Caregivers as Confessors and Healers,” was held at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology on November 5-7, 2015.
To close their conference on November 7, OCAMPR had several sessions of Paper Presentations where professionals from around the country not able to give full-length talks during the conference could present brief papers on a subject of their interest.
Dr. Ioana Popa, a professional psychiatrist and adjunct professor at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, presented a paper entitled: “The Kingdom of God is Within You: Outside and Inside Confessions and the Healing Process in Internal Family System Therapy-A Trinitarian Approach.”
Dr. Popa described the human person as a constellation of feelings, thoughts, and impulses. While constellations are quite beautiful, this was meant to describe human beings as fragmented because of the numerous distractions that have altered our minds and our whole being.
Each human being, however, has a center of wisdom, which is the image of God. We can access this center and retain to the image of God’s glory. Thus, the spiritual life of achieving theosis becomes about pulling away the veils of feelings, repressions, scars, and fears to find God within ourselves.
As Jesus tells us, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” We can look inward to God for healing and peace in spite of our fragmentation. If we look upon our imperfect parts with compassion, God will work with us to heal those broken pieces and put us back together whole and in our “right mind.”
What does this have to do with being a good caregiver?
A person who is healed and reintegrated, according to Dr. Popa, naturally reaches out to minister to others because the soul that is healed by God burns with His love for all of creation and seeks an end to the brokenness brought about by sin.
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