At our churches, if we need physical healing we pray and also go to a doctor. If our sink is clogged, we may pray and then hire a plumber. Why then do we sometimes resist using professional help with our conflicts or other communication challenges? Research from positive psychology can be joined to our prayers and aid our attempts to love others (and ourselves) more completely.
I’ve attended many churches. Raised Roman Catholic, I seriously considered becoming a nun. Later I spent time as a Unitarian Universalist, an Episcopal and, most recently, I have attended Quaker meetings. In every congregation, I’ve seen that conflicts, disagreements, and misunderstandings are inevitable in a group. This is especially true if we seek to go beyond surface niceties and build a community of emotional intimacy and love (I like the Christian term, agape).
The more we are emotionally invested in our churches, mosques, or temples, the more likely we are to experience conflict. Facilitated discussions or Emotional Intelligence training can give us tools to understand what might be blocking us from the ability to communicate with and love others.