Artie, a 43-year-old divorcing Catholic in a great deal of pain, made an appointment to see me one summer afternoon. He thought he was making an appointment with a "run of the mill" psychotherapist with standard credentials and training. When he arrived at my office, he saw that I had a small votive candle burning on the table next to my chair, and a variety of spiritual symbols from various faiths on the walls and on the bookshelf. He sat down without a word and started to cry. When I asked Artie what his tears were about, he said he needed to be forgiven for pursuing his divorce, and that he had been praying for guidance. When he looked around my office, he sensed he had found a place where he would find healing for his spiritual pain.
Beth, a 37-year-old separated Jewish mother of two, told me in a session that she no longer felt comfortable attending synagogue. Everyone was a family there, she said, and everyone knew her marriage was ending. "I feel ashamed," Beth told me. "I've come to realize that I've been worshiping at the wrong altar: my marriage, my husband, and my children have become my gods. I've grown away from a true connection with my Creator. I need to know I'm still okay with God." I asked her if she knew any Hebrew prayers, and she was surprised when I suggested she start her sessions in a meditation for healing while I sat quietly beside her.
There's nothing like the upheaval of divorce to shake you into the need for a little soul-searching. Artie and Beth both realized that using religion, prayer, or meditation would make all the difference to their divorce recovery. And don't think that those who seek some form of spiritual or faith-based healing are necessarily religious nuts, or those on the fringes of society: they can be Fortune 500 tycoons, artists, schoolteachers, housewives, retirees