MAGPS 2018 Spring Conference – An Interview with Alexis Abernethy, PhD, CGP, FAGPA

By Rose McIntyre, LCSW, CGP

 

 

On behalf of MAGPS, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alexis Abernethy PhD., CGP,

FAGPA about our Spring 2018 Conference where she will present on ” Cultural

Competence, Spirituality, and Transcendence in Times of Crises”.

 

Dr. Abernethy is from Annapolis, MD, went to Howard University, lived 12 years in NY,

and has lived in Southern California for 20 years.

She has a wealth of experience on the issues of diversity, cultural competence and

spirituality for she has spent years working clinically, conducting research, and teaching.

Her belief in the importance of hearing others’ stories seemed to resonate throughout

our conversation. Despite the national and global challenges of our times, she is

encouraged as she sees people coming together with hope, compassion and generosity

with a deepened committing to transformation and creating change.

She has a wealth of experience on the issues of diversity, cultural competence and

spirituality for she has spent years working clinically, conducting research, and teaching.

Her belief in the importance of hearing others’ stories seemed to resonate throughout

our conversation. Despite the national and global challenges of our times, she is

encouraged as she sees people coming together with hope, compassion and generosity

with a deepened committing to transformation and creating change.

 

When I asked Dr. Abernethy what she hopes people gain from the conference, she said

she hopes people come with an openness and willingness to hear and grow with each

other. She hopes that they have an opportunity to learn something new about

themselves. Her desire is that attendees may understand their own story in a different

way and attend to someone else’s story in a way that that transfers to their work. If we

are able to continue to engage in dialogue and bridge our differences, we have the

opportunity to understand ourselves and others more fully so that we can deepen our

connections.

 

When I asked Dr. Abernethy to define or differentiate spirituality and religion, she said

that both are a search for the sacred. However, religion often is identified in the context

of an institution or organized religious belief system, where spirituality is not and

typically more personal. Spiritual transcendence refers to a perspective or orientation

that allows one to move beyond or transcend an immediate experience or situation

through one’s connection to a deity, God, higher power, or greater good. This

transcendence enables the individual not to be defined by a particular experience.

When I asked Dr. Abernethy about potential bridges and barriers to the building of these

virtues of patience, compassion, and gratitude in an effort to transcend crises so that we

are not stuck in judgement and division, she said that the first bridge is to realize that

there is a bridge. She emphasized that we do not have to allow crises and tragedies to

define us. Even in the greatest obstacles there is an opportunity to develop new

strength and dimension of ourselves. Through dialogue, sharing our stories, and

listening to the story of others we can work through differences and barriers. We can

connect through our common humanity.

 

It was a pleasure speaking with Dr. Abernethy on the topic of ” Cultural Competence,

Spirituality, and Transcendence in Times of Crises”.

 

I look forward to April 21 and 22nd and the MAGPS Spring Conference. My desire is to

arrive open and willing to learn more about myself and others.

 

Interview submitted 1/23/18 written by Rose McIntyre LCSW, CGP

 

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