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Supernatural Attributions and Spiritual Struggles

With Julie Exline

February 15–17, 2023


The symposium is free and open to the public; registration is required. Refunds/cancellations up to one day before the event start date.


Para registrarse al evento en español, visite: Información de Registro

등록을 위해 한국어 이벤트 정보와 등록안내를 방문하세요: 등록 정보


A total of six units of continuing education (CE) credit will be available. (Each two-hour session is worth two units.) CE credits are offered at $10 per unit for Fuller alumni and $15 per unit for the general public. Please visit the registration page if you are looking to purchase additional credits or select your CE credit package of choice (located under “Add-Ons” on the ticket page).

At the end of the event week, a survey will be sent out to all registrants. An evaluation form will be available to download on the last page of the survey along with instructions on how to submit it. Certificates will not be issued until an evaluation form is submitted via email to [email protected]. Questions regarding CE credits can be sent to [email protected].

Fuller Theological Seminary / Graduate School of Psychology & Marriage and Family is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Integration Symposium 2023

Join us in person and online for the 2023 Integration Symposium, hosted by Fuller’s School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy. Keynote speaker Julie J. Exline will explore this year’s theme “Supernatural Attributions and Spiritual Struggles.”

In this series of lectures, Dr. Exline will ask the question, “What makes people believe they are hearing from God, being tormented by the devil, or receiving messages from a deceased loved one?” The three lectures will focus on these supernatural attributions and their relevance for mental health, as well as spiritual struggles and how people may move through these struggles in life-giving ways.

Julie ExlineJulie Exline, PhD, serves as professor of the psychology of religion and spirituality in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Her research centers on the interface of clinical, social, and personality psychology, with a special focus on topics involving spirituality, religion, and existential concerns. She served as principal investigator on projects researching spiritual struggles and supernatural attributions, both funded by the John Templeton Foundation. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in Ohio and has been certified as a spiritual director through the Ignatian Spirituality Institute at John Carroll University.

Dr. Exline is a past president of the Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (SPRS, American Psychological Association’s Division 36) and is the recipient of the Margaret Gorman Early Career Award, the Virginia Sexton Mentoring Award, and the William James Award from SPRS. She is the coauthor, with Kenneth Pargament, of Working with Spiritual Struggles in Psychotherapy: From Research to Practice (Guilford Press, 2021). Her current research focuses on a wide array of themes around spiritual struggles and supernatural attributions, including gratitude and anger toward God, perceptions of after-death communication, beliefs about supernatural evil, and the many ways that people perceive “God’s voice” in their lives.

Jose AbrahamJose Abraham

Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Fuller Seminary

Jaclyn WilliamsJaclyn Williams

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Preaching and Chaplaincy, Fuller Seminary

Stephen SimsopnStephen Simpson

Associate Professor of Psychology, Clinical Psychology Department, Fuller Seminary



10:00 am–12:00 pm (PT) Lecture #1: Supernatural Attributions: How Do People Perceive Messages from God, the Devil, and Human Spirits?

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe five reasons why supernatural attributions are important for mental health professionals to understand.
  • Identify five reasons why someone might make a supernatural attribution for an event.
  • Identify pros and cons of adopting the mental illness, psychological, and supernatural lenses in response to reports of supernatural “messages.”

Respondent: Jose Abraham, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Fuller Seminary

Student Respondent: Clara Bertan, LMFT/First-Year DMFT, Fuller Seminary – Study Emphasis: Integrative Framework for Identity Formation in Family Systems


10:00 am–12:00 pm (PT) Lecture #2: Spiritual Struggles: An Overview of Key Concepts and Findings
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe six common types of spiritual struggles.
  • Identify five measures that have been used to assess spiritual struggles.
  • Discuss sources of controversy around the topic of spiritual struggles.

Respondent: Jaclyn Williams, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Preaching and Chaplaincy, Fuller Seminary

Student Respondent: Grace Chan, 2nd-year MFT, Fuller Seminary – Practicum Student at Fuller Psychological and Family Services

1:00–2:00 pm (PT): Online SOPMFT Admissions Info Session For questions, email [email protected]


10:00 am–12:00 pm (PT) Lecture #3: How Can We Support Healing and Growth from Spiritual Struggles?
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss controversial issues around the question of whether spiritual struggles lead to growth and/or decline.
  • Highlight five ways to offer support and foster growth among people who are going through spiritual struggles.
  • Describe several metaphors that may be clinically useful in framing experiences of spiritual struggles.

Respondent: Stephen W. Simpson, Associate Professor of Psychology, Clinical Psychology Department, Fuller Seminary

Student Respondent: Eltice Lin, 5th-year PhD, Fuller Seminary – Study Emphasis: Religious Perfectionism

12:00–1:00 pm (PT): SOPMFT Alumni Luncheon (*for Fuller alumni only) – Register Here

Save the Date

Join us next year for the 2024 Integration Symposium:

Integration of Psychology and Theology for the Church

February 21–23, 2024

Sign up here to stay informed.