Breakout Session: Katrina Burgos, LCSW, ACMHP

Exploring Resistance to Spiritual Emergence


Whether spiritual emergence comes about spontaneously via a direct, powerful experience, or gradually, via a series of more subtle experiences over time, the challenge of spiritual emergence is that it requires a definitive transformation. While some may easily embrace the transformation, others may struggle with spiritual resistance. A convergence of individual and cultural factors, from fear to a lack of cultural understanding and support, to the misdiagnosis of psychiatric illness and popularity of suppressive medications, contribute to the conscious and unconscious withdrawal from or avoidance of the process of spiritual emergence.

In this discussion, I will review some of the theorists that have contributed to our current understanding of the process of spiritual emergence. I will then invite you to consider the ways spiritual resistance may have influenced your own spiritual emergence so that we can together consider how spiritual resistance may manifest in the therapeutic process. From there we will explore the factors that may impact our professional decisions on how and when to offer interventions for spiritual resistance, which while we may be eager for our clients to overcome, may also serve an important defensive function.

Presenter Bio

Katrina Burgos is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker currently in private practice in New York City. Prior to focusing solely on private practice, Katrina worked within diverse settings from Inpatient Psychiatry and Community Mental Health to Preventive Child Welfare.

Katrina received her MSW from Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare in 2004 with a specialization Student Community Development in Higher Education. Her Master’s thesis discussed the importance of higher education professionals recognizing and addressing the spiritual needs of traditional (18-25 year-old) college students.

Katrina’s academic interest at the intersection of Psychology and Spirituality stems from her personal quest to understand her own ineffable spiritual experiences that began in her early adulthood. With no context for her experiences, Katrina was led synchronistically to The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University), where she is currently a global student pursuing a PhD in Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology.

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