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Home    >    Faith-Based and Secular Meditation
Faith-Based and Secular Meditation
Everyday and Posttraumatic Applications
Raymond Monsour Scurfield
ISBN: 978-0-87101-542-6. 2019. Item #5402. 252 pages.
Book Type:
Western saying: "Don't just stand there - do something."
Eastern saying: "Don't just do something - stand there."

Research shows that meditation in all its various forms can have a positive impact on both our physical and mental health. When combined with psychotherapy, meditation can reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and burnout and improve heart health, sleep, concentration, performance, and overall sense of well-being.

Drawing on his 40+ years of meditation practice, experience as a Vietnam veteran, and decades of psychotherapy work with his clients, Ray Scurfield demonstrates how to introduce meditation into treatment for clients with posttraumatic stress disorder or everyday stress. His 12-step method includes selecting a meditation technique that is best suited for the client, preparing for physical challenges during meditation, focusing on breathing, anticipating inner and outer distractions, practicing together during sessions, and helping clients create a meditation routine.

Using real-world examples, Scurfield shows that meditation can be practiced with or without a religious or spiritual element. He offers reassurances for secular-based clients that meditative practices are not in conflict with their nonreligious views. Conversely, he explains how faith-based approaches can have a complementary relationship with religion and prayer.

This book focuses on four types of meditation: mantra-based ("I am courageous," "Jesus, give me strength"), breath-count-based (7-11, 2-4-2-6), mindfulness-based (focus on sight, sound, touch), and mantra/breath hybrids. Not necessarily a seated, solitary practice, meditation can be incorporated into daily activities, practiced together in therapy, and used to foster a deeper connection to nature and other living beings.

Through meditation, this unique work encourages therapists to provide a safe space for their clients to experiment with their own healing; generate solutions that mesh with their belief systems; and engage in ways of thinking, acting, and doing that promote health, responsibility, and change.

Part 1: A Variety of Forms of Meditation
1: Understanding Meditation
2: Phases of Meditation Practice and Transcendence
3: Research-Studied Benefits and Side Effects of Meditation
4: Faith-Based and Secular Meditation
5: The Path of Concentrative Meditation: Transcendental Meditation and Other Mantra-Based Forms
6: Concentrative Forms of Breath-Based Meditation
7: The Path of Insight Meditation: Mindfulness
Part 2: A Clinical Approach to Using Meditation with Clients and Patients
8: How I Introduce Clients to Meditation
9: Helpful Strategies and Techniques: Before, During, and After Meditation
10: Breathing Properly to Promote Optimal Emotional and Behavioral Responses
11: Using Affirmations during Meditation: In Sports, Peacetime, and War
12: Meditation Strategies to Enhance Sleeping
13: Integrating Meditation with Key Elements of Humanistic and Gestalt Therapies
14: Integration of Meditation with Trauma-Focused Treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, and Systematic Desensitization
Part 3: Case Studies: Creative Applications of Meditation Strategies
15: Buddhist Gathas and Tactical Meditation to Address Life's Challenges: Six Case Studies
16: Chronic PTSD Following an Automobile Accident: The Faith Factor
17: Acute PTSD Related to Arrest, Police Interrogation, and Prolonged Legal Proceedings: Severe Avoidance and Anxiety
18: Chronic PTSD and Severe Phobia Related to Military Service in
Part 4: Continuing the Journey
19: Meditation and Prayer: A Complementary Relationship
20: Enhancing Meditation: Benefits, Challenges, and Signposts
21: Meditation Is the Medication
Appendix: How I Introduced Michelle to Four Forms of Meditation (Case Study)
About the Author

Ray Monsour Scurfield, DSW, LCSW, ACSW, is professor emeritus of social work, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg. Scurfield is a nationally recognized posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) expert. He is in private practice at Rivers Psychotherapy Services, Gulfport, Mississippi, and has served as the clinical consultant to the Biloxi U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vet Center since 2011.

Scurfield was an army social work officer (1967), and he served on one of the Army's two psychiatric teams for one year (1968-1969) in Vietnam. He had a distinguished 25-year career with the VA, as the first national director of counseling for the VA Vet Center Program (Washington, D.C., 1982); founding director of the Post-Traumatic Stress Treatment Program (PTSTP), American Lake VA Medical Center, Tacoma, WA (1985) - the PTSTP was internationally acclaimed and pioneered cohort admissions and innovative experiential treatment strategies for PTSD (that is, helicopter ride therapy, adventure-based Outward Bound and low and high ropes courses, integrating American Indian healing and warrior-recognition ceremonies, joint therapeutic activities with Soviet veterans of Afghanistan); and founding director, VA National Center for PTSD, Honolulu (1992), establishing treatment centers on Oahu, on the Big Island, and in American Samoa. In the remarks accompanying Scurfield's 1988 prestigious VA Olin E. Teague award, President Ronald Reagan wrote, "Your achievements in the study and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder have become landmarks in psychiatry."

Scurfield was social work faculty, University of Southern Mississippi (1998), and received some 15 awards. He received the 2006 MS Social Worker of the Year award for post-Katrina trauma counseling with students, faculty, and staff; organizational, publication, and education achievements on and off campus; and the 2012 National NASW Lifetime Achievement Award.

Scurfield has written or coedited seven books. The most recent include War Trauma: Lessons Unlearned from Vietnam to Iraq (2006); War Trauma and Its Wake: Expanding the Circle of Healing (2012); and Healing War Trauma: A Handbook of Creative Approaches (2013). His work includes 70+ total publications and 400+ appearances nationwide, including on 60 Minutes, Nightline, NPR, and the PBS documentary Two Decades and a Wake-Up, about co-leading the first therapy group of Vietnam veterans back to Vietnam in 1989. Scurfield also was co-faculty for the first integrated history and mental health university-based study abroad course to Vietnam (2000) that included Vietnam veterans and history students in a collaborative endeavor of social work and history departments.

Scurfield has been meditating since his initiation into basic Transcendental Meditation in 1977 and subsequent advanced Siddhi residential training. His practice is grounded in gestalt, existential, humanistic, cognitive behavioral, and experiential therapies.