The spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude have long been practiced within the contemplative Christian tradition as a means of character transformation and experiencing God. Do these disciplines affect the use of silence in psychotherapy for Christian clinicians in a graduate training program? Nineteen graduate students in clinical psychology were assigned to a wait-list control condition or a training program involving the disciplines of solitude and silence, and the groups were reversed after the ftrst cohort completed the spiritual disciplines training. One group, which was coincidentally comprised of more introverted individuals, demonstrated a striking increase in the number of silent periods and total duration of silence during simulated psychotherapy sessions during the period of training. The other group, more extraverted in nature, did not show significant changes in therapeutic silence during the training. These results cause us to pose research questions regarding the interaction of personality characteristics and spiritual disciplines in training Christian psychotherapists.
Van Meter, Jeffrey B.; McMinn, Mark R.; Bissell, Leslie D.; Kaur, Mahinder; and Pressley, Jana D., "Solitude, Silence, and the Training of Psychotherapists: A Preliminary Study" (2001). Faculty Publications - Grad School of Clinical Psychology. 243.