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Conference on Spirituality, Aging and Mental Health–Presenters and Topics

Yesterday I posted a blog announcing this MSPP conference.  Today I am posting the topics and speakers for the conference.  SAVE THE DATE if the speakers and presentations interest you.  Continuing Education Credits for professionals will be offered.

For more information you can go to MSPP’s website; call the Continuing Education Department at MSPP; or email the department.  That contact information follows:


PHONE: (617) 327-6777 or (888) 664-6777 (Toll Free)



 “Silent Connections: Spirituality, Mental Health and Illness in Old Age.”

Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

Boston, MA

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Sarita Bhalotra, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Chair, Concentration in Aging, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02451

“Living Till We Die”

Most persons have a vision of an ideal old age with minimal physical and mental disability, yet bio-medical approaches to aging incorporate little of the psycho-social and spiritual elements that also seem to facilitate “living till we die”.   What factors influence why some elders are more successful at integrating these dimensions in their lives than others and what is the role of community, society, providers and the health care system?

 Harry R. Moody, Ph.D.

Director of Academic Affairs, AARP

“The Spiritual Journey of Life”

The process of aging and the stages of life and the process have been understood in different ways by the great world religions.  In this slide-lecture, we survey these different understandings about the “stages on life’s way” and explore the possible directions for a new vision of “gero-transcendence” in the 21st century.

Harry Moody is author of The Five Stages of the Soul: Charting the Spiritual Passages that Shape Our Lives (1997), now translated into seven languages worldwide.

 Mary Ann S. Outwater, RN

Director of Assisted Living

Covenant Health Systems

Erlene Rosowsky, Psy.D.

Core Faculty, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

Director, MSPP Center for Mental Health and Aging

Director,MSPP Center for Mental Health and Aging

“The Place of Spirituality in Elder Services”

Ms. Outwater and Dr. Rosowsky will facilitate a group discussion on this topic with speakers and participants addressing such questions as:

  • What is the place of spirituality in services provided to people in later life?
  • What are the viewpoints of administrators and practitioners about the importance of integrating spirituality into service delivery?
  • What is done currently and how it is done insofar as fostering spiritual resources for clients?
  • What might be done more effectively in the future based on past and current experience?

 Rabbi Sam Seicol

Education & Engagement Director, MIT Hillel

Former Chair, Forum on Religion Spirituality & Aging, American Society on Aging

“A Model for Understanding Spirituality & Dementia”

This session will explore an approach for understanding the dimensions of internal/personal and external/relational spirituality.  Differences between spirituality and religiosity will be presented.  The focus will be on fostering an awareness of the power of the “Spiritual Moment” for persons with dementia.  

 Jane M. Thibault, Ph.D.

Clinical Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Louisville (KY)

“Activating the Resources of the Soul:  A Psycho-Spiritual Intervention for Pain and Suffering in Later Life”

The pain and suffering, which often accompanies illness and losses of later life, are often unmitigated by traditional behavioral interventions. Spiritual activities, such as prayer, can provide a therapeutic effect.  This presentation will explore an old spiritual discipline — ‘Dedicated Suffering’ — as an intervention for work with older adults experiencing residual pain and suffering.

Jane Marie Thibault is co-author of Religious and Spiritual Aspects of Human Service Practice; the author of A Deepening Love Affair: The Gift of God in Later Life (1993); 10 Gospel Promises for Later Life (2004); co-author of No Act of Kindness is Ever Wasted (2009)

 Robert L. Weber, Ph.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Governing Council, Forum on Religion Spirituality & Aging, American Society on Aging

“Training for Competence to Work with the Spiritual Issues of the Elderly”

Despite the increased attention given by the fields of mental health and gerontology to the spirituality of clients, training in this area continues to be scarce and inadequate.  It is doubtful whether those providing mental health and geriatric services to the elderly are well prepared to address spiritual issues.  This presentation is intended to encourage the development of such capabilities by emphasizing training to enhance greater awareness, knowledge, and skills.

Posted in agingmental healthspirituality on 11 February 2010
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