In 2013 a Chartered Psychologist and an Ignatian Spiritual Director had the same notion that well-being was more than a series of issues or problems to be fixed and that if a person was treated differently, treated as a whole person, body, mind and soul, with emphasis on strengths and goodness - cared for the way Jesus cared for people - then something different just might be possible. So the Chartered Psychologist and the Spiritual Director wondered what it might be like for the two of them to come together, in the same place, to help people to live well
The spiritual director, specially trained to help people to grow in relationship with God and others, was always going to have a focus on the spiritual well-being of anyone who came to well.com. The Psychologist- a Methodist minister, encouraged and supported by his Church to develop new ministry - was keen to develop a way of offering well-grounded therapy that was also spiritually sensitive, to be made available to those for whom spirituality/religion was important.
And so, the dream that the Chartered Psychologist had been carrying about in his heart, fed by God and by his Church, was given a new shape when he was joined by the Spiritual Director. As for the name well.com
, 'well' was a nod to the old wells of Abraham and Isaac, part of the original inspiration for the venture. And .com? That held a wish ….COM
… Celtic Order of Mission … that we might one day experience the union we had as Celtic Christians, before brothers and sisters were divided. It also held the desire to represent something of the character of the Celtic Church, its appreciation of God present in all aspects of life, its respect for difference and diversity.
Putting the Chartered Psychologist and the Spiritual Director together was always going to bring about work centred on Christ. Nevertheless, that wasn't going to influence the 'how' of the therapy, which continued to be rooted in the same robust research/methods and the same respect for the client's value base expected of any accredited therapist. But it did affect the 'why?' of the work. Jesus' words from Matthew 11 now held a dream for each client as he/she healed or learned to live differently
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Live freely and lightly: the same words informed the Spiritual Director in her practice. Focussed on a shared love of Jesus, she worked with Christians of all colours to bring freedom from unhealthy and unhelpful ways of relating to God and to each other. Small steps. One person at a time. Unforced rhythms
Rhythms that can prove so helpful in establishing good mental health practice became part of the daily practice of well.com
. Prayer in the Celtic tradition at 12.30pm became part of the personality of the place. This regular prayer, slowing down in the middle of each day, changed and challenged the Chartered Psychologist and the Spiritual Director and deeply affected how each operated. They were joined by others, liking the company and the gentle rhythms of prayer. A loose gathering of people formed with different gifts, music, mentoring, drama, admin, magic, hospitality, humour - an endless list - each supporting the other and the work of well.com
. People who saw the value of well.com
as a place where people felt safe, at home, welcomed … a place where things, people can grow and blossom … small steps, little ways, slow growth … in the middle of the community … real health centres where people can help each other to live well, freer to do just that, encouraged to live the life that God wants for them:
Life to the Full