From the Margins to the Center: Generative Possibilities in Multicultural Dialogue on Spirituality

  • David Trimble
Part of the AFTA SpringerBriefs in Family Therapy book series (BRIEFSFAT)


This chapter introduces the book, Meeting in Sacred Space: Engaging with Spirituality in Family Therapy, an edited volume whose chapters are written from the authors’ diverse perspectives informed by Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Native American spiritual practice, Sikhism, Southern and Eastern African spiritual traditions, and Taoism. It offers a challenge to the current dominant global cultural discourse of individualism, offering the possibility of alternative global culture grounded in respect for the universality of human spirituality. Recognizing the problems of sectarian religious violence, fundamentalism, and struggles for hegemonic dominance, the authors offer an alternative model of ethical dialogue in a metaphorical “sacred space” shared by participants deeply grounded in the particulars of their faiths. Respectful witnessing of each other’s practices opens hearts to profound, tangible, yet inexpressible realms of common human spiritual experience. Authors were invited to write transparently about their engagement with spirituality in their therapeutic and teaching practices, to share their spiritual journeys in the context of their complex social identities, and to provide illustrations of their work. As the Editor and author of this introductory chapter, I trace my journey as the scion of generations of Protestant Christian ministry through a range of esoteric traditions into Judaism and the study of Jewish esoterica in Kabbalah and Chasidut. I illustrate my work with the case of a Roman Catholic patient for whom I drew from related traditions in Christianity and Judaism to help her overcome a pattern of misfortune and build resilience.


Spirituality Judaism Multiculturalism Dialogic practice Culture Instrumental and metaphysical practice Religion in therapy Discourse Ethical practice Kabbalah Shamanism Sacred space 


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Copyright information

© American Family Therapy Academy 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of PsychiatryCenter for Multicultural Training in Psychology, Boston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.Boston Institute for Culturally Affirming PracticesBostonUSA

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