FAMILY TREE HEALING : ARTICLES
by Robert T. Sears, S.J.
Trinitarian Ground of Healing of Families
Since the 1960s therapists have increasingly focused on family systems for healing. Bert Hellinger working with Family Constellations, discovered "laws" of completeness and priority that this article correlates with his five scriptural stages of spiritual/emotional faith development. Jesus' death of the cross restored what God had intended before Adam and Eve sinned. We are born again in Baptism to this new family, but we have to keep choosing Jesus' way to be gradually transformed. The paper was published in The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 31, #2, Fall/Winter, 2015.
Theology of Prayer as Response to the Creative Love of God
Prayer—traditionally adoration, confession, thanksgiving and petition—develops in different stages:-discursive, contemplative and unitive prayer. It is an ever deeper response to God's creative love in us, forming us in the image of Jesus to do the works of Jesus. This article considers prayer as cooperating with God's plan of salvation to restore our new birth into Jesus' family to be transformed in God's Love, to minister healing with the heart, mind and power of Jesus. The paper was published in The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 32, #2, Fall/Winter, 2016.
The Cosmo-Theological Concepts of Jacob L. Moreno: Universal Spontaneity-Creativity
Jacob L. Moreno, the founder of Psychodrama and Sociodrama, developed his principles and methods of both fields from role-reversing with God. Working from his initial spiritual experience, this paper first examines the three basic principles of his "God-hypothesis," then shows their relevance for guiding true creativity in everyday life and ultimately for the healing of humanity. This paper relates his view to Christian theology and spirituality to challenge Christians to respond creatively to our ever-changing world situation. The paper was published in The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 33, #1, Summer, 2017.
Interrupted Love: Healing Addiction through the
Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Addiction attaches the desire for God to specific behaviors, things or people. Bill Wilson and AA was a breakthrough but also limited. Chris Prentiss’ and Arthur Janov showed that facing primal pain lies at the root of addictions, and the need for companionship and joy (Jim Wilder) to face that pain. Jesus, with Mary, carried our primal pain of abandonment on the cross with the resultant release of joy and community. The article concludes with suggestions for healing addictions. Published in The Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 26, # 2, Fall/Winter, 2010.
Is There a
Scriptural Approach to Mental Health?
Scripture says little directly about mental illness as we know it today. This article presents five stages of faith development revealed in Scripture that lead to the image of Christ and ultimately of God’s own triune love, the source and goal of all healing. Modern therapies are related to God action in these stages. This article was published in The Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 24, # 1, Spring/Summer, 2008.
The Trauma of the Broken Church: Healing Through Ecumenism
This talk deals with the suppressed trauma of the brokenness of the Christian church which is now “taken for granted” and largely untreated. Divisions between God’s people can be traced to Adam and Eve and Israel’s history, but they persist through Christians’ rejection of Judaism, in the Orthodox/Catholic schism, and in the Protestant Reformation and consequent splintering of the church. This article presents a short history of this fragmentation (into some 38,000 Christian denominations today), and the scandal it presents in face of Jesus’ prayer “that they all may be one…that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). It concludes with a prayer of repentance for our sins and those of our forebears and a prayer that all may cooperate with Jesus’ prayer for unity. Published in The Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 24, #2, Fall/Winter, 2008.
A Theology of Joy and Healing
Joy is essential to healing, yet is often overlooked. This article explores the foundation of Christian joy in God’s love and Jesus’ teaching of the beatitudes. It was published in the Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 19, #2, Summer, 1997, pp. 3-19. 17 pp.
Family Spiritual/Emotional Systems
This foundational article integrates a development theology of the Holy Spirit with intergenerational family systems therapy of Murray Bowen and Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy. Originally published in Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 5, # 1 (1983), pp. 10-23. 14 pp.
This is a shorter introduction to the five stages of spiritual development, with three cases given to show their applicability. 9pp.
Love and Male-Female Community
The healed family expresses God’s triune love. That principle is then applied to five areas: male headship, mutual subordination, separation, celibate friendships, and growth within relationships. Originally published in Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 6, #1 (1984), pp. 32-39. 8 pp.
Gender Wars: A Scriptural View
This article traces male-female relations from Genesis to the New Testament to show how competition is transformed to insightful collaboration. Each of the five stages of development is experienced differently (mother, spouse, soul mate, co-minister, God image) and calls for a different approach to healing. 15 pp.
Christianity: An Interpersonal Perspective
This article correlates Jung’s view of shadow, anima/us and God-image that emerge with individuation with what I have called “individuating faith” in light of interpersonal Christian stages of development. Originally published in Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 12, #2 (Summer, 1990), pp. 11-19. 9 pp.
Resurrection Spirituality and Healing the Earth
This article presents a theology of resurrection and its importance for earth healing. It evaluates the “creation-centered approach” of Matthew Fox in light of a “resurrection-centered approach,” and gives steps for prayer for healing the earth. Paper given at the Conference of the North American Association of Christianity and Ecology, 1987, later published in Review for Religious, Vol. 49, # 2 (Mar./Apr. 1990), pp. 163-177. 10 pp.
Approach to Discerning Spiritualities
Christian healing requires discernment. This article develops criteria for discerning a Christian approach to healing and applies them to three common approaches: Matthew Fox's Creation-Centered Spirituality, A Course in Miracles and New Age Spirituality. Originally published in Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 21, # 1 (Spring, 1999), pp. 15-34. 10 pp.
Love as Ground of the Church
This article gives further theological underpinnings for Trinity as ground of community. It presents four stages of spiritual development (later expanded to five) and gives their grounding and theological implications for church development. Originally published in Theological Studies, Vol. 37 (Dec. 1976), pp. 652-679, 27 pp.. With critique by Roger Haight, SJ and response by R. Sears, SJ.
Resurrecting the Wounded Community
This article gives stages of community development related to Scott Peck’s four stages and suggests how ACTheals.org (and similar communities) needs to move beyond pseudo-community and chaos to acknowledge its shadow side and embrace its different gifts. Originally published in Journal of Christian Healing, Vol. 16, # 4 (Winter, 1994), pp. 3-15.
Theology and Energy Healing
This is a talk for an Association of Christian Therapists Post-Conference Circle of Inquiry on Energy Healing, Oct, 2002. It considers evidence for several levels of human energy fields from Barbara Brennan, Richard Gerber, MD and Ewert Cousins and offers a Christian theological interpretation based on Sears’ stages of spiritual development. 9 pp.