November 12, 2009, 10 am Pacific, 11 am Mountain, Noon Central, 1 pm EST, 7 pm Istanbul and Zurich.
Killer of the Spirit: Things that happen in one's work environment that deaden one.
Killers of the spirit occur when one’s work is taken for granted or devalued, when one is placed in questionable situations by superiors, when one is criticized without explanation for something over which one has no control, or talked about behind ones back , spirit takes a nose-dive. Difficult economic times make it very hard for one to exit one’s job, so what often happens is that one becomes dispirited. How can career professionals help one who has become dispirited?
About my topic...
In 2001, Paulist press published a book written by two colleagues and me, entitled What Brings You to Life, in which we interviewed many women about what enlivens them…wakens their spiritual essence. In the process we also became interested in what deadens them in a work situation…kills the spirit, so to speak.
As a result, and years later, we are interviewing men and women about killers of the spirit and restorers of the soul. We have found that killers of the spirit occur when one’s work is taken for granted or devalued, when one is placed in questionable situations by superiors, when one is criticized without explanation for something over which one has no control, or talked about behind one's back. When these events occur, spirit takes a nose-dive. Difficult economic times make it very hard for one to exit one’s job, so what often happens is that one becomes dispirited.
Restorers of the soul can be people, activities, self talk etc. However, what seems to be essential is a renewal of sense of personal meaning. The counselor, coach or other mental health worker serves as a transitional object who helps one who has become dispirited reconnect to that which is deepest and most meaningful in self. Much of this work can be done through story, dream work, or other creative activities which have the capability reviving the soul. Helping people integrate spirituality into their conception of career will nourish rather than deplete make everyday life more joyful and balanced.
Activity #1: What Deadens You?
Ask yourself what deadens you, or kills your spirit at work and also in your life-career. List at least two things that deaden you. Visualize what happens…what you see, hear and feel. Take a few deep breaths and then ask yourself what brings you to life. Visualize what you see here and feel when you are most alive. List the experiences that enliven you. Think about how you can put more of them in your life. You may want to ask your clients to do this exercise. Have them describe both experiences in detail.
Perhaps you can help them restructure what they tell themselves about the deadening experience and find more ways of bringing enlivening experiences into their daily lives.
Activity #2: Working with Daydreams and Fantasy
Daydreams are universal and they reflect interests that we may not take seriously in our waking lives. John Holland was very aware of this when he included them in the Self Directed Search. Daydreams and fantasy like dreams, if explored may be a way to get to important issues.
Working with daydreams can help one gain insight into self. They often reflect things that people would like to do in non-wishful thinking life. Counselors can use daydreams to help lead clients from what deadens to what enlivens.
To do of this activity, ask your client to daydream about deadening situation at work. Allow time for your client to fully visualize the situation. Tell your client to draw a picture of the situation, and then to paint that picture in words.
Now ask your client allow time to daydream about handling the deadening situation, emerging not only whole but more inspirited previous to the situation. Have him or her draw a picture of how he or she handled it. Then ask him to describe the drawing in detail and answer the following questions. What are you doing in the daydream? Who is with you? How did you recognize your triumph? These questions should be answered in the present tense.
Ask your client embellish a story about the fantasy as if it were a motion picture, filling in all of the details and experiencing self as the hero in the story. See what parts of self are changed between to two stories. Pay particular note as to what is meaningful to your client.
Lastly tell your client to change the fantasy to something that can happen in his or her life right now that will help restore spirit. Ask your client to make and action plan. Check to see that it is carried out.
Note: It is advisable for you to do this activity before you use it with a client.
These are references that I use: books that integrate spirituality (defined as meaning) and work.
Bloch, D. P. & Richmond, L.J. (1997). Connections between spirit and work. Palo Alto. Davies-Black.
Bloch, D.P. & Richmond, L.J. (1998). Soulwork: Finding the work you love, loving the work you have. Palo Alto. Davies Black
Eanes, B.E., Richmond, L.J. (2001) What Brings You to Life? MahWah, NJ. Earlbaum.
Fox, Matthew. (1994). The reinvention of work. San Francisco. Harper.
Guillory, W.A. (1997). The living organization: Spirituality in the workplace. Salt Lake City. Innovations.
Hansen, S. L. (1997). Integrative life planning. San Francisco. Jossey Bass.
Hillman, J. (1997). The soul's code: In search of character and calling. New York. Warner Books.
Jourard, S.M. (1971). The transparent self. (2nd ed.) New York. Van Nostrand Company.
Mitroff, I. & Denton, E. (1999). A spiritual audit of corporate America. San Francisco. Jossey Bass.
Peppers, C., & Briskin, A. (2000). Bringing your soul to work. San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Here are some other resources:
Fernando, Mario. (2001). Abraham Maslow and Spirituality. Victoria University of Wellington, School of Business and Public Management. Retrieved June 19, 2009, from website:
Freshman, Brenda (1999). An exploratory analysis of definitions and applications of spirituality in the workplace. Journal of Organizational Change Management,12 (4), 318-327. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 117542724).
Huitt, W. (2000). The Spiritual Nature of a Human Being. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta State University. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from website: chiron.valdosta.edu
Santa Clara University. (January 2002). Psychology and Spirituality. Santa Clara University, School of Education, Pastoral Ministries Program. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from website: home.att.net...~revdak/spir243/lecture01.html
Smith, Nancy, R. (2006). America's Employees cry out for Spirituality after 9/11. Retrieved May 12, 2009 from website:
Stark, Gary (September 2006). The Psychology/Spirituality of Work(in honor of Labor Day). Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Retrieved June 19, 2009 from website: www.mqtuu.org...
Lee Joyce Richmond is a Professor of Education at Loyola University Maryland in the area of school counseling where she is also affiliate faculty in the pastoral counseling department. Winner of 2002 Eminent Career Award of the National Career Development Association, she has co-authored four books, eight book chapters, two monographs and numerous articles on such subjects as spirituality and school counseling, career counseling, women's issues, and self esteem. Dr. Richmond currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Counseling and Development. She has previously served on the publications committee of the American Counseling Association and on the editorial board of the Career Development Quarterly.
Dr. Richmond has served as President of American Counseling Association, and of the National Career Development Association. She has twice served on the CACREP Board, and has been chair of the ACA Insurance Trust. She has served as Chair of the Board of the Career Development Training Institute of America, and as consultant and trainer in Career and Leadership Development for the United States Postal Service. Internationally she has been a consultant for Recruit Co. Ltd., Japan. Dr. Richmond is a Master trainer of Global Career Development Facilitators.
On the state level Dr. Richmond served as President of the Maryland Association for Counseling and Development, the Maryland Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors, and President of President of the Baltimore Psychological Association. She is currently serving on the education board of the Maryland Psychological Association.
After 16 years of service, Dr. Richmond has resigned as director of the school counseling program at Loyola to focus on teaching and on her research interests connecting self-esteem, spirituality and career development. She is working on a chapter for the Oxford Handbook of Psychology, and also on a co-authored book on to be published in 2011.
Lee J. Richmond, Ph. D.
Professor of Education
Loyola Univeristy, Maryland
Timonium Graduate Center
2034 Greenspring Drive
1. How do you define "killer of the spirit?"
2. How did you get interested in this concept?
3. Are killers of the spirit always major events, like job loss and death?
4. How does killer of the spirit affect resiliancy?
5. How does killer of the spirit affect ethics? How do individuals whose ethics have been challenged react?
6. How can career counselors and other career practitioners support clients whose spirit has been killed?
7. How can career practitioners protect themselves from killers of the spirit, i.e., how can they protect themselves from taking in the anxiety of clients who have lost their jobs? (real meaning in your life, step back)
8. Could you talk a bit about killers of the spirit and the holiday season?
9. Could you summarize your main points on how to deal with killers of the spirit? (as many things that can ease the pain, take time out, recognition of oneness, finding a place where you are comfortable with you and wih others, find someone who can listen to what really means to you, how best can I spend this time, what can best restore, not just talking to yourself if it doesn't have meaning to you, live gently and walk humbly, harmonize yourself with nature and the rhythms of life, sort out things that really matter, in the worst of situations, you can work well with others).
This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews.
Before we begin, I'm going to go over some logistics. If you have a question, press 5* on your phone and keep your questions brief. Please respond to the evaluation questionnaire in your call-in information, especially if you want CEUs.
I'd like to welcome Dr. Lee Richmond, Professor of Education at Loyola University Maryland in the area of school counseling where she is also affiliate faculty in the pastoral counseling department. Winner of 2002 Eminent Career Award of the National Career Development Association, she has co-authored four books, eight book chapters, two monographs and numerous articles on such subjects as spirituality and school counseling, career counseling, women's issues, and self esteem. Dr. Richmond currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Counseling and Development. She has served as President of American Counseling Association and of the National Career Development Association. Her credentials go on and on, but I'm sure you are more interested in what she as to say now. Welcome Lee...
I sent an email a few days ago to see if anyone wanted to be a "client" for 10 minutes during this interview. I did not receive any responses, but if someone now would like to volunteer, let me know now by pressing 5* on your phone.
Thank you Lee Richmond, for your inspiring interview.
Be sure to register for upcoming speakers Martin Yate, last year's International Career Development Association keynote speaker, who will talk next week, on November 19, about career sustainability and the concept that most of us are in the midst of a half-century worklife. In December we shall hear Samual Gladding, a former president of the American Counseling Association, talk about creativity in career on December 3; and on December 10 Antonio Sausys will discuss asking for what you want in work and life using body-oriented psychotherapy and ancient yogic teachings, an especially useful topic to help us navigate through the holidays. Goodby until next week.