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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.
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Earn CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.

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 each client, preparing for physical challenges during meditation, how to focus on breathing and manage inner and outer distractions, practicing together during sessions, and helping clients create a meditation routine.

This is a unique, creative, and practical book. Scurfield incorporates 100+ authenticated proverbs and sayings to illustrate key points. These range from Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian, to African, Native Hawaiian, and contemporary music and sports, e.g., “What you put attention on grows in your life,” "The gift is next to the wound,” and “Watch the (base)ball hit the bat.”

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. Scurfield uniquely describes how “spot” meditations can be applied in stressful activities (e.g., stuck in traffic, disagreement with one’s partner, a serious medical appointment) to quickly reduce anxiety, anger, sadness, and posttraumatic symptoms. He also describes how to apply meditation principles and strategies to significantly enhance affirmations and prayers.

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

Chapter 1: Understanding Meditation
Chapter 2: Phases of Meditation Practice and Transcendence
Chapter 3: Research-Studied Benefits and Side Effects of Meditation
Chapter 4: Faith-Based and Secular Meditation
Chapter 5: The Path of Concentrative Meditation: Transcendental Meditation and Other Mantra-Based Forms
Chapter 6: Concentrative Forms of Breath-Based Meditation
Chapter 7: The Path of Insight Meditation: Mindfulness

Part 2: A Clinical Approach to Using Meditation with Clients and Patients

Chapter 8: How I Introduce Clients to Meditation
Chapter 9: Helpful Strategies and Techniques: Before, During, and After Meditation
Chapter 10: Breathing Properly to Promote Optimal Emotional and Behavioral Responses
Chapter 11: Using Affirmations during Meditation: In Sports, Peacetime, and War
Chapter 12: Meditation Strategies to Enhance Sleeping
Chapter 13: Integrating Meditation with Key Elements of Humanistic and Gestalt Therapies
Chapter 14: Integration of Meditation with Trauma-Focused Treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, and Systematic Desensitization

Part 3: Case Studies: Creative Applications of Meditation Strategies

Chapter 15: Buddhist Gathas and Tactical Meditation to Address Life's Challenges: Six Case Studies
Chapter 16: Chronic PTSD Following an Automobile Accident: The Faith Factor
Chapter 17: Acute PTSD Related to Arrest, Police Interrogation, and Prolonged Legal Proceedings: Severe Avoidance and Anxiety
Chapter 18: Chronic PTSD and Severe Phobia Related to Military Service in

Part 4: Continuing the Journey

Chapter 19: Meditation and Prayer: A Complementary Relationship
Chapter 20: Enhancing Meditation: Benefits, Challenges, and Signposts
Chapter 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.
Earn CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.