Foundational to Emotional Health
By Rick Williamson (PhD ’02)
A key factor in emotional health is the quality of one's relationships. Nowhere is this more foundational and practical than in the relating that occurs within families. It is for this reason that Fuller's School of Psychology has developed its counseling center to be an outreach to families.
As I witness the impact of our ongoing therapeutic efforts with families that face a variety of stressors, I recognize more and more the resiliency that develops within those that learn to interrelate well. Despite the sheer variety and extreme nature of the stressors that can confront us, I've witnessed amazing grace in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances in the lives of families who learn to stand together. Contained within the mission of Fuller's Psychological and Family Services clinic is this understanding that our emotional and spiritual health is reflected in this type of relational depth.
I liken this process to the passage in Acts 3 that recounts the healing of a man who was brought daily to the temple gate. He received not only a healing from his infirmity, but afterwards the temple gate--which had served daily as his place of final destination--was transformed into its intended use as a conduit to usher him into the temple (that is, into a deeper relationship with God). Similarly, while the work we do with families often addresses their immediate situational distress, we also look to redress deeper relational dynamics in order to foster emotional health.
Given the foundational relational lessons and contexts that families provide each of us, it is crucial to keep them in focus in light of the tremendous potential they harbor to help or hinder the emotional growth and psychological maturity of subsequent generations. It is this sense of mission that Fuller seeks to extend beyond the walls of its institution, out into the community, and across the globe through our alumni/ae.
Rick Williamson is clinical director for Fuller Psychological and Family Services.