Module Six: The Bible, Freud, or…?

  • Robert Felker

    I was baptized Catholic and went to Catholic school till 8th grade… so First Communion, Confirmation, Confession… the whole bit. But my mother (divorced and remarried) had always felt ostracized from the church, so we didn’t go as a family on Sunday. In high school, we began going to a Methodist church and we all liked it a lot better. I converted to the Methodist faith and in 12th grade I was president of our youth group. One of my greatest spiritual experiences was going to help some poor folks in the mountains with a big group. It was a time I truly felt connected to something bigger than me and my small view of the world. I don’t recall that we were a very spiritual family. We didn’t pray together, except the “God is Great” prayer before dinner and we didn’t read the Bible. I set out to read it once in 5th or 6th grade and got about halfway through Exodus :) From Nashville, I went off to art school in NYC and tried for a while to cling to my spiritual/religious roots, but soon found the devil’s playground much more exciting and alluring. And even though my stepfather was a psychology major in school, there was still quite a stigma attached to therapy. If I was “depressed” I was supposed to snap out of it… change my attitude. There was also some pretty severe judging going on about how crazy other people were — how screwed up everyone else was. I discovered later that he’s probably one of the most insane, mentally ill people I know.

  • Interesting question. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, though I was Christened as a baby and prayed the Lords Prayer every night before bed. I became a Christian when I was dancing in Germany at a real crux in life. My family wasn’t really into psychology or spirituality growing up. But I see my interest in psychology probably comes from living with a pretty anxious, judgemental father and learning young to pay attention to those unspoken interpersonal cues to keep the peace. As a counsellor now, I would say both spirituality and psychology are important to me. I lean more toward psychology in how I understand things and empathise with others, but spirituality is what gives me a grounding, hope and a clear vision for what human thriving looks like.