Spirituality in Mental Health Work: Steady with the Wind

Join Dr. Brad Strawn, Dr. Alexis Abernethy, Dr. David Wang, and Dr. Christin J. Fort as they demonstrate how to assess and incorporate spiritual, existential, religious, and theological conversations into your mental health work.

We estimate you can complete this course in 7 hours (but not all in one sitting!).

$ Pine Rest Rate

Created in Partnership:


Fuller & Pine Rest

About This Course

As mental health professionals, we are tasked with addressing all areas of our clients’ lives, especially those connected to their identity. Though identity is often deeply influenced by religion and spirituality, these can be difficult topics to directly address with clients. Lack of practitioner expertise and/or clients’ negative experiences with religion and spirituality can often stand in the way of holistic healing.

In this course, Spirituality in Mental Health Work: Steady with the Wind, you will be introduced to a framework for assessing and incorporating spiritual, existential, religious, and theological conversations into your mental health work.

Join Dr. Brad Strawn, Dr. Alexis Abernethy, and Dr. David Wang as they demonstrate ways to navigate through these uncharted waters.

Topics to be Covered

Assessing Client's Spirituality

Collaboration with Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Impact of Your Religious Background

Using Strengths & Resources in Treatment

Working with Spiritual Strain


Fuller Seminary is an evangelical, multidenominational graduate institution committed to forming global leaders for kingdom vocations. Responding to changes in the church and world, Fuller is transforming the seminary experience for both traditional students and those beyond the classroom: providing theological formation that helps Christ-followers serve as faithful, courageous, innovative, collaborative, and fruitful leaders in all of life, in any setting.

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services is a nonprofit organization founded in 1910 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pine Rest is the third largest non-profit behavioral health provider in the U.S., offering a full continuum of services including psychiatric urgent care, inpatient and partial hospitalization, residential, outpatient and teletherapy services, addiction treatment and recovery, extensive child and adolescent programs, senior care services, as well as specialized assessment and treatment clinics.

Meet Your Lead Instructor

Brad-Strawn (1)

Brad Strawn, Ph.D.

Brad Strawn is the chief of spiritual formation and integration for the seminary, dean of the chapel, and serves on the Senior Leadership Team. In his many years serving as the chair of integration in the Clinical Psychology Department, Strawn was responsible for strategically integrating theology and psychology into the curriculum of Fuller’s doctoral programs, as well as leading spiritual retreats for students. Prior to joining Fuller he served as vice president for spiritual development and dean of the chapel at Southern Nazarene University.

Meet Your Supporting Instructors

Alexis Abernathy-9942

Alexis Abernethy, Ph.D.

Alexis Abernethy has served at Fuller as professor of Clinical Psychology since 1998 and has served on the Brehm Center’s steering committee. She is currently the Chief Academic Officer for Fuller Theological Seminary.

Her primary research interest is the intersection between spirituality and health, and she has received grants from California Cancer Research Program, the National Cancer Institute, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and the Templeton Foundation.


David Wang, Ph.D.

David Wang is a licensed psychologist, pastor, editor of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, and serves on the editorial board for the APA journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice. In 2022, he joined Fuller's faculty as the Cliff and Joyce Penner Chair for the Formation of Emotionally Healthy Leaders.

His research interests include trauma and traumatic stress, spiritual formation and spiritual theology (with special interest in the experience of the spiritual desert), and various topics related to multicultural psychology, peace, and justice.


Christin Fort-headshot

Christin J. Fort, Ph.D.

Christin J. Fort joined Fuller’s faculty in 2022 is an assistant professor of clinical psychology and is an associate editor for the Journal of Psychology and Christianity.

Her scholarship, research, teaching, preaching, and clinical practice lie at the intersections of faith, race, emotional health and relational well-being. She is the author of a range of academic articles published in journals such as the Journal of Psychology and Theology, Pastoral Psychology, and the aforementioned Journal of Psychology and Christianity.