Last updated September 09, 2019
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Grand Challenges for Social Work

Faith-Based and Secular Meditation

Everyday and Posttraumatic Applications

Raymond Monsour Scurfield

ISBN: 978-0-87101-542-6. 2019. Item #5426. 252 pages.

Paperback $34.14   ePub $29.00

Western saying: “Don’t just stand there—do something.”

Eastern saying: “Don’t just do something—stand there.”

Research shows that meditation—in all its various forms—can have a positive impact on both our physical and mental health. When combined with psychotherapy, meditation can reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and burnout and improve heart health, sleep, concentration, performance, and overall sense of well-being.

Drawing on his 40+ years of meditation practice, experience as a Vietnam veteran, and decades of psychotherapy work with his clients, Ray Scurfield demonstrates how to introduce meditation into treatment for clients with posttraumatic stress disorder or everyday stress. His 12-step method includes selecting a meditation technique that is best suited for the client, preparing for physical challenges during meditation, focusing on breathing, anticipating inner and outer distractions, practicing together during sessions, and helping clients create a meditation routine.

Using real-world examples, Scurfield shows that meditation can be practiced with or without a religious or spiritual element. He offers reassurances for secular-based clients that meditative practices are not in conflict with their nonreligious views. Conversely, he explains how faith-based approaches can have a complementary relationship with religion and prayer.

This book focuses on four types of meditation: mantra-based (“I am courageous,” “Jesus, give me strength”), breath-count-based (7-11, 2-4-2-6), mindfulness-based (focus on sight, sound, touch), and mantra/breath hybrids. Not necessarily a seated, solitary practice, meditation can be incorporated into daily activities, practiced together in therapy, and used to foster a deeper connection to nature and other living beings.

Through meditation, this unique work encourages therapists to provide a safe space for their clients to experiment with their own healing; generate solutions that mesh with their belief systems; and engage in ways of thinking, acting, and doing that promote health, responsibility, and change.