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Spring spirituality conference at EMU

“Conversations on Attachment: Integrating the Science of Love and Spirituality,” will be held March 31-April 1, 2011, at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg. The conference, a first of its kind, will bring together nationally-recognized experts from a variety of disciplines to apply key insights from attachment theory to current research and practice.

Program planner Tara Kishbaugh, an associate professor of chemistry at EMU, believes that this conference “is sorely needed as well as timely,” noting

Recent neuroscience demonstrates that people-to-people connections are crucial for health,” Dr. Kishbaugh said. “If relationship health is essential for survival, one of our most important tasks is to learn how to form healthy attachments — with each other, with the earth and with God,” she added.

Confirmed conference speakers include highly sought after experts who are best-selling authors in their fields. They include:

· Sue Johnson, Ed.D.: Professor of clinical psychology at The University of Ottawa, director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute Inc., and the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy. Dr. Johnson has published numerous books, chapters and articles in the field of relationships and therapy. Her most recent book is written for the general public and is entitled Hold Me Tight – Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.

· James Coan, Ph.D.: Assistant professor of psychology, member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program and director of the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Virginia, author of The Social Regulation of Emotion.

· Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.: Clinical professor of psychiatry, UCLA’s Center for Culture, Brain, and Development; co-director, Mindful Awareness Research Center and author of the best seller, Parenting from the Inside Out.

· John Paul Lederach, Ph.D.: Professor of international peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame and author of numerous books, including Narratives of Care: The Echo of Community Transformation.

· Nancey Murphy, Ph.D.: Professor of Christian philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif., and author of Emotion, Attachment, and Theology: How Do They Fit in the Hierarchy of the Sciences?

Pre-conference training with Sue Johnson

A pre-conference training, “Creating connection in couple therapy: The New Science of Love and Bonding” will be offered March 31 on the groundbreaking new work of emotionally focused couples therapy. Dr. Sue Johnson’s 2004 book (2nd Ed), The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy: Creating Connection (Brunner Rouledge) is the basic text on EFT.

The training is open to practitioners from the region who want a formal introduction to EFT from the woman behind the movement. It runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Eastern Mennonite Seminary’s Martin Chapel.

“We hope hundreds of people will join us for three days of life-changing conversation that is sure to change how you see yourself, your relationships and the larger world,” says Annmarie Early, PhD., director of EMU’s MA in Counseling program, which is sponsoring the pre-conference training.

More information about the conference schedule and costs, as well as online registration and blog postings by presenters, is available at

Story by Jim Bishop. Jim can be reached at