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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Moore talks about mental health at conference

In today's Ottawa Citizen, Jennifer Green writes about the up-coming weekend conference, International Conference on Spirituality and Mental Health, under the headline, "Healing Minds, Healing Souls." The conference will launch the new international Association for Spirituality and Mental Health.

According to Green, about 100 professionals will attend the conference, organized by the University of Ottawa's department of psychiatry, the Ontario Multifaith Council on Spiritual and Religious Care, and Saint Paul University. The conference's theme is "meaning in our lives and how it shapes our mental health."

Thomas Moore is giving a public lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in auditorium 203, Guigues Hall, Saint Paul University on Main Avenue.

According to Moore,
"suffering and times of deep confusion are not necessarily bad. They may lead us toward new insights and stronger psyches.

"We live in a world where we really feel the best way is to be normal and purring along without any trouble and then when bad things happen, these things are taken as aberrations, anomalies, failure. (But) they are a part of life and we do gain something from having to deal with them. So many people say they are better for them. ... They find out what's important."

They also discover that they can be themselves, rather than conforming to society's idea of idea of normal.

"They become more individual, even more eccentric. When they are in a creative state, in work that keeps them energized, they don't look normal, and they're considered unusual by people around them.

"But if people can't be creative, that's one way they become depressed."
Green says Moore "still considers himself Catholic, although it's a Catholicism the church itself would likely not accept. These sorts of boundaries seem a little meaningless since nobody can ever know anything in absolute terms. These days, Mr. Moore says he spends a lot of his time talking to medical doctors who are anxious for any insights he might be able to provide."

Moore says,
"psychiatrists are understanding much better that there is a spiritual dimension to what they do and they have not addressed that sufficiently.

"They just want anything I might be able to give them.

"But the problem is there is a lot of quackery out there and they are hesitant and I don't blame them."
Conference sessions are open to the public, for a general registration of $300. More information is at www.spiritualityandmentalhealth.org.

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