Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education
Spirituality & Healing in Medicine
Including the Concept of Emergence
Saturday - Sunday December 1 - 2, 2007
The Westin Copley Place Boston, Massachusetts


Herbert Benson, MD and Christina M. Puchalski, MD


Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital &
The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health

For 40 years, laboratories at the Harvard Medical School have systematically studied mind body interactions. The research established that when a person engages in a repetitive prayer, word, sound or phrase and when intrusive thoughts are passively disregarded, a specific set of physiologic changes ensue. These changes — decreased metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure and rate of breathing — are the opposite of those induced by stress, and have been labeled the relaxation response. Surveys indicate that over 60% of visits to health care professionals are for conditions caused or exacerbated by stress and that the relaxation response is an effective therapy for stress-related conditions.

Many people who elicit the relaxation response also note increased spirituality. Spirituality is expressed as experiencing the presence of a power, a force, an energy or what was perceived of as God, and this presence is close to the person. This finding opened the door to questions about the healing effects of spirituality and to the creation of this course over 10 years ago. It was one of the first to relate medicine with spirituality and healing.

Over the years the conference has presented data about the relaxation response as well as the beneficial effects of religious and other spiritual practices on healthcare outcomes. Now, over 100 medical schools have courses on spirituality and health, the majority of which are required.

As the concepts presented in Spirituality & Healing in Medicine became more established, an important question presented itself. Can traditional scientific methodology explain the benefits of spirituality? Or, should other approaches be explored? In this context, the importance of the concepts of emergence evolved. Emergent theory maintains that a totality is greater than the sum of its components. This conference will present the newest findings of spirituality and healing in medicine as well as those supporting the significance of emergence in the full integration of spirituality and health.

Course objectives will be met through interactive dialogue and experiential learning.


  • The role of spiritual practices in medicine and clinical care
  • The new physiologic, molecular, neurologic and clinical effects of the relaxation response
  • How to weave the concepts of spirituality and healing into medical education
  • The possible role of emergence in spirituality and healing


  • Attendees of Previous “Spirituality and Healing in Medicine” Courses
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Researchers of Mind/Body Interactions
  • Nurses
  • Counselors
  • Chaplains
  • Clergy and Members of Religious Communities
  • Spiritual Directors
  • Lay Spiritual Leaders
  • Social Workers
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • Healthcare Administrators
  • Healthcare Insurers

Attendance Limited — Register Early!


7:30 - 8:30 Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 - 10:00 Four Decades of Mind/Body and Spirituality Findings - Herbert Benson, MD
10:00 - 10:30 Refreshment Break/Music
10:30 - 11:30 A Moral Imperative for the Integration of Spirituality into Healthcare - Christina M. Puchalski, MD
11:30 - 12:30 Religion & Health: What Does the Research Tell Us? - George Fitchett, DMin, PhD
12:30 - 1:45 Lunch on your own
1:45 - 2:45 Mind Body Connections from the Standpoint of Emergent Complexity - Philip Clayton, PhD
2:45 - 3:45 Insights from Biology into Dualism vs. Monism - Pedro Enrique Huertas, MD, PhD
3:45 - 5:30 Workshops
  • Emergent Spirituality - Marti Steussy, PhD, MDiv
  • Teaching Techniques that Elicit the Relaxation Response -Ann Webster, PhD
  • Positive Psychology and Spirituality Margaret Baim, MS, NP
  • Theological Approaches to Understanding Prayer Rev. Joseph J. Driscoll, MDiv, MS
7:30 - 9:00 Creative Dialogue - Rev. Natalia Vonnegut Beck, MA, Christina M. Puchalski, MD
8:00 - 8:30 Continental Breakfast
8:30 - 9:30 The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Nursing - Betty Ferrell, PhD, FAAN
9:30 - 10:30 Quantifying the Mystery? - Rev.Natalia Vonnegut Beck, MA
10:30 - 11:00 Refreshment Break/Music
11:00 - 12:00 Spirituality and Resiliency - Gregory L. Fricchione, MD
12:00 - 1:15 Lunch on your own
1:15 - 3:00 Workshops
  • Emergent Spirituality - Marti Steussy, PhD, MDiv
  • Getting Comfortable with Mystery in the Clinical Setting - Mary Matthiesen, BA
  • Rethinking Spirituality after Dualism - Philip Clayton, PhD
  • Positive Psychology and Spirituality - Margaret Baim, MS, NP & Gregory L. Fricchione, MD
3:00 - 5:00 Panel
Moderated by: Rev. Natalia Vonnegut Beck, MA
Herbert Benson, MD
Philip Clayton, PhD
Betty Ferrell, PhD, FAAN
George Fitchett, DMin, PhD
Gregory L. Fricchione, MD
Pedro Enrique Huertas, MD, PhD
Christina M. Puchalski, MD


Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Harvard Medical School designates this educational activity for a maximum of 15.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Continuing Education Credit For more information on continuing education credit call (617) 732-9767.

Psychologists Massachusetts - The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Spirituality & Healing offers 15 credit hours.

Psychologists in all other states, who are concerned about mandatory continuing education requirements and the acceptability of these credit hours in a particular state, should contact their state board of psychology or other professional licensing body directly.



Herbert Benson, MD
Director Emeritus
Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Christina M. Puchalski, MD
Director, The George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish) Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine and Health Care Sciences The George Washington University School of Medicine
Rev. Natalia Vonnegut Beck, MA
Senior Associate for Cathedral Ministries, Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, IN;
Daniel G. Holbrook Fellow, Harvard Medical School
Consultant; Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
Margaret Baim, MS, NP
Associate in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Clinical Director, Center for Training, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
Philip Clayton, PhD
Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology, Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Claremont Graduate University
Rev. Joseph J.Driscoll, MDiv, MS
Director of Mission Services, Bon Secours Health System, Marriottsville, MD
Marcia Feldman
Hospice Musician
Sherrill House Chaplain Department
Betty Ferrell, PhD, FAAN
Research Scientist
City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, CA
George Fitchett, DMin, PhD
Associate Professor and Director of Research
Department of Religion, Health and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL
Gregory L. Fricchione, MD
Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Chief of Psychiatry Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School
Pedro Enrique Huertas, MD, PhD
Medical Director/Director of Translational Research
Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
Mary Matthiesen, BA
Founder, Courage to Choose, Courage to Care, Sausalito, CA
Marti Steussy, PhD, MDiv
MacAllister-Petticrew Professor of Biblical
Interpretation, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN
Ann Webster, PhD
Instructor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Staff Psychologist
Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital


Tuition fee for Physicians:                                              $495 (USD)
Reduced fee for:
Residents* & Fellows-in-Training* (Full Course):      
$325 (USD)
Nurses/Allied Health Professionals (Full Course):
   $325 (USD)
Other Professionals (Full Course):
                               $325 (USD)
Students+ (Full Course):                                              
     $199 (USD)
*A letter of verification from Department Chair must accompany application for a reduced fee.
+A photocopy of a valid school ID must accompany registration form. Limited to first 20 students.

All foreign payments must be made by a draft on a United States bank or by Visa or Mastercard. If paying by check, make it payable to Harvard Medical School and mail with the completed registration form to: Harvard MED-CME, P.O. Box 825, Boston, MA 02117-0825. If paying by credit card, fax the completed registration form to (617) 384-8686, or mail it to the above address. Telephone registrations are not accepted. Inquiries should be directed to the above address, made by phone: (617) 384-8600, Monday - Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM (Eastern Time) or by e-mail: hms-cme@hms.harvard.edu. Upon receipt of registration a confirmation letter will be mailed to the address listed osn the form.

Tuition Refund Policy
A handling fee of $60 is deducted for cancellation. Refund requests must be received by mail one week prior to the course. No refunds will be made thereafter.


The Westin Copley Place
10 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 262-9600

You are urged to make your reservations early. A limited number of rooms have been reserved at The Westin Copley Place: (617) 262-9600. Please specify that you are enrolled in this class to receive a reduced room rate of $205 Single/Double per night. Reservations must be received by November 8, 2007. A map of Boston listing local hotels will be sent with your confirmation of enrollment. For additional housing assistance, call Boston Reservations at (617) 332-4199 or bostonreservations@ bostonreservations.com.

Please do not make non-refundable airline reservations until you have been confirmed into your course. You can make your airline reservation by calling: the HMS Travel Desk toll free 1-877-4HARVMD (1-877-442-7863) Monday - Friday 9 AM - 8 PM (EST). From outside the U.S., Canada and Virgin Islands, please call 617-559-3764.

I learned valuable tools to help me serve my patients better and to inspire me to approach each work day with energy and enthusiasm.

—Primary Care Physician
2006 Course Participant

I found it transformational. It put me in touch with my own place of healing.

—Nurse Practitioner
2006 Course Participant

This conference was wonderful. Brilliant people shared their knowledge of science and spirituality with us.

—Hospital Chaplain
2006 Course Participant


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  Copyright © 2007, Harvard Medical School, Department of Continuing Education