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716 | Building Emotional Maturity by Anchoring Treatment Strategies in the Spiritual Disciplines

Psychiatry, Behavioral Medicine, and Collaborative Care, Saturday 9/16 2:15 – 3:30, Workshop Tracks


Michael Walsh, M.D.



Approved For CE

Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU




All individuals have desires, which is a good thing as they are essential to life and motivate us to act for things we need. Epithymia, or lust, indicates an obsessive desire overly focused on getting its object. The things of the world (e.g., the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life) can lock clients into a system of control, keeping them from achieving their most deeply held desires. In this workshop, the presenter will explain from a biblical perspective that God did not just give our clients desires, but He gave them a will, spirit, or heart, and the appropriate place for desire to be is under a will that is acting for what is good. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit-empowered, surrendered human will can begin to decide what is good outside of, and even in opposition to, the client’s feelings. In this workshop, the presenter will explain the training process to help move willing Christian clients, licensed mental health professionals, and ministry leaders to use spiritual disciplines to become emotionally mature. The mark of an emotionally mature person is being able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

Learning Objectives

1. Categorize a problematic desire with which clients struggle in the framework of the three things of the world (the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life)
2. Explain to clients how the human heart/spirit/will and the influence of feelings on decision-making can help them learn to make choices independent of their desires
3. Apply the use of spiritual disciplines in treatment plans with clients, helping them learn to recognize their desires in typical everyday scenarios
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