Atlanta, Georgia – (February 22, 2013)
Associate Professor of Counseling and Licensed Psychologist, Dr. Dan Sartor, and master’s student, Beth Leonard, will represent Richmont Graduate University at this year’s Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) annual conference in Portland, Oregon.
Under Sartor’s direction, Leonard has pursued thesis work regarding the attachments people have with God and how this influences their attachments with other people. Where some world religions believe wellbeing is acquired through mindfulness and meditation, Leonard’s work is uncovering how the group practice of a meditative reading of the Scriptures, historically known as the “Lectio Divina,” might form significantly healthier relational attachments among individuals and within the participants’ sense of attachment to God.
“There’s a growing body of research that has linked certain meditative practices to personal and relational well-being,” said Sartor. “We are examining whether or not the Christian-specific practices of the Lectio Divina and centering prayer contribute in the same manner to personal well-being and relational well-being as perceived through the lense of attachment theory.”
While research is still underway, Leonard’s work is broadly applicable to the process of psychology as she is using both church populations and clinical populations to determine the ways in which people experience God and how their personal wellbeing and interpersonal relationships are affected.
“The manualized group process we are employing is designed to help people more fully connect how they perceive God implicitly, or in their heart and emotions, with their head or Biblical knowledge of God,” said Leonard. “When that happens they can experience Him in more positive, intimate and securely-attached ways as opposed to negative, shame-based ways. A fascinating aspect of this study is examining the correlation between healing in attachments to people and to God, and investigating what role Christian meditative practices play in that process.”
Therefore, the CAPS conference is an exciting opportunity for both Sartor and Leonard to present the study’s preliminary findings.
“We are excited to contribute to the dialogue in academic and clinical circles regarding healthy spiritual practices that contribute to the well-being of individuals and society at large,” said Sartor.