Weaving Psychological and Spiritual Healing Together
"I am still working to refine my calling within my psychotherapeutic ministry," shares Bernard Newton, who earned his MS in Marital and Family Therapy from Fuller's School of Psychology three years ago. However, it is clear that his calling--refined or not--is one that Newton has passionately given himself to, seeing it as "the privilege of serving as a conduit of God's love and grace, and watching him work miracles of healing within individuals and families."
Upon graduation Newton moved to North Carolina, where he works at the Center for Psychological and Family Services (CPFS) in Raleigh with three other Fuller alumni/ae: Jason Young (PsyD '05), Steve Bennett (PhD '91)), and Natalie Hawkins (MS '93). Working with fellow Fuller grads in a practice where degrees in theology are as common as those in psychology, Newton appreciates the ongoing opportunity to integrate the two as he was taught during his time at Fuller. "All of us work together," he notes, "to apply psychological insights in a manner that involves critical theological reflection."
For Newton, psychological and spiritual healing weave together as he leads clients to a fuller understanding of both themselves and God's grace and peace. "I have the opportunity to remind God's children that there is no internal space so dark or painful that God's light cannot penetrate," says Newton. "Providing a safe place for clients to discover and express aspects of themselves that have gone unacknowledged" is one of the most rewarding dimensions of his work. This leads to his strong interest in helping people work through topics he feels the church has traditionally done a poor job of engaging, such as substance abuse and issues of sexuality.
Although this is a difficult task, Newton feels that he was properly equipped for it during his time at Fuller. "My training at Fuller gave me an ability to patiently and compassionately sit with unanswered questions, ambivalence, and ambiguity," he comments, "as clients struggle with the complicated and often mysterious nature of the human experience."
Not content to leave such skills at CPFS, Newton also shares his training with Visio Dei, his church community--where he teaches occasionally on Sunday mornings, facilitates the development of home group leaders and healthy group processes, and leads a support group for men dealing with compulsive sexual behavior.
Personally, Newton enjoys life in the young, vibrant downtown area of Raleigh and is grateful for a loving community of family and friends. Professionally, he's also upbeat as he looks toward the unfolding and refining of his calling in the future: "I'm thankful for the blessing of my Fuller education," he says, "and I pray that God will further challenge me to use it in new and creative ways to serve my community."
Read more about CPFS or contact Newton at www.cpfs.net.