WWTTD (What Would This Therapist Do?)
January 20, 2012 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Anglican Christian filter: I am interested in working for an Anglican non-profit organization as an intern-therapist. I am a non-practicing Christian, but have a strong spiritual belief (think: Eckhart Tolle/Eastern philosophy) and was formally trained in transpersonal psychotherapy, which by definition is rooted in spirituality and encourages one to "transcend beyond oneself." I am not inherently opposed to religion, but do not follow strict Catholic practices. Should I reconsider being interested in this position? I need more subjective info on Anglican beliefs, and Wikipedia isn't really helping in this area.

If it matters, I have a strong sense of humor (see the headline, not meant to be offensive) but I can reign it in when appropriate. I sometimes use irreverence in therapeutic sessions with the "right" clients in the "right" moment. Would this be appropriate? Despite the fact that I am a non-practicing Christian, I do view religion positively. As a therapist, code of ethics requires that I keep info about myself to a minimum, so theoretically my practices don't matter - but because this is a church, they may want people who either a.) attend their church or b.) attend any church at all. Thoughts from Anglicans greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!
posted by luciddream928 to Religion & Philosophy (6 answers total)
When you say "Anglican," do you mean the Episcopal Church of the US, or the international Anglican Communion, or one of the antigay splinter churches?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:28 PM on January 20, 2012

Ask the organization itself!

I've received therapy through a Catholic social services program, and there was no requirement that I, or the therapist, be Catholic, or other variety of Christian.
It was a service provided to genuinely help people in need, regardless of religious belief, and to standard therapeutic guidelines.

On the other hand, the equivalent Salvation Army service was very explicitly provided on the basis that they would proselytize to you, and apparently the solution to problems was often suggested as the bible or church, etc.

Find out which one this service is, but I'd guess it'd be further towards the Catholic end of the spectrum.

On a side note, it seriously boggles my mind every so often how far Catholic laity and activists are from the bureaucracy in the Vatican. It's really sad, because on the ground level at least, Catholic support services were usually way less creepy* than equivalent Salvation Army offerings.

* Evangelical, anti-gay, etc.
posted by Elysum at 6:34 PM on January 20, 2012

Religious groups typically want to employee individuals that subscribe to their belief system. However, non-profit entities operated by religious groups may or may not have strict requirements about what they expect employees to believe or a statement of belief they expect employees to sign off on.

Anglicans are an odd bunch. Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals and Broad Church/Mainline types can all be Anglican. Broad Church/Mainline types will be the most open and relatively laid back theologically about what kind of folks their non-profit might employ. Evangelicals will expect greater theological conformity --perhaps even formal adherence to a rigid understanding of biblical authority-- and Anglo-Catholics greater liturgical conformity and participation depending on how and where this non-profit is embedded.

If this non-profit is intended to sit at the intersection of spirituality and therapy as opposed to something more generally charitable or service oriented the greater problems you will likely have. Many non-profits evolve to the point where they have only tangential obligations to the religious group that founded them and are not vehicles of that religious group's doctrine.

If its not something so Anglican that they are automatically going to assume you're Anglican and they don't attempt to elicit any subscription to Christianity or any specific statements of faith I think you are probably fine. Usually groups for whom it would be a big problem lay out their expectations fairly clearly.
posted by MasonDixon at 6:39 PM on January 20, 2012

My father and stepmother are both Anglican priests, and I grew up in the Anglican church in NZ, in a variety of different styles of churches. Most Anglicans I know are liberal, fine with irreverent humour, and open to a variety of other religions and denominations, including agnosticism and (maybe less so) atheism. They are less likely to have overt requirements about sharing their beliefs for employees in Anglican-run schools or other organisations. Therapists might differ, but I doubt it. Hell, I even know some Anglicans in leadership positions who are not entirely sure they believe in God (for most accepted values of God.)

The most important values in the belief systems of anglicans I know are justice, mercy, caring, social equality, and in their religious practices they value ritual and the creation of sacred space, and the creation of community far above any value they put on specific religious dogma.
posted by lollusc at 6:45 PM on January 20, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you to everyone who posted - I found out the woman's name and more details about the organization. It isn't Anglican as I originally thought, but an organization that wants its employees to further the biblical agenda. I am no longer interested.
posted by luciddream928 at 6:56 PM on January 20, 2012

Not sure if it's helpful (can't tell where you are) but people in the US who go out of their way to call themselves "Anglican" (rather than Episcopalian) are almost always fundies trying to disassociate themselves from the liberal US Episcopalian church. So the 'biblical agenda' from these 'Anglicans' wouldn't be surprising in a US context.
posted by Wylla at 11:57 PM on January 20, 2012

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