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  • Larry Payne

You are an Agent!

My essay "Agents of Change" is featured this week by the Center for Open and Relational Theology! It was published in the book "Love Does Not Control: Therapists, Psychologists, and Counselors explore uncontrolling love."

From the foundation of Open and Relational Theism, my essay digs in to the connection between God's love, human capacity for choice, and emotional well-being. Our beliefs make a difference in our power to act.

"Have you ever felt stuck in a situation you could not change? It’s frustrating and even frightening to lose what psychologists call “agency.” Good theology and mental health practices will aid in regaining the power to change.

Some of the most disturbing stories of evil in modern culture are stories of imprisonment. The world was shocked in 2018 when a Canadian woman, Edith Blaise, and an Italian man, Luca Tachetto, were captured by Islamic terrorists. They were driving across west Africa to visit a friend when their lives changed forever. The terrorists stopped them and imprisoned them in a remote desert camp. In her book, The Weight of Sand, Edith recounted the terrible desert conditions, the isolation, and the fear that gripped her. Cut off from her boyfriend and the civilization she knew, she had no power to change what was happening to her.

I can’t imagine how helpless Edith felt. However, I’ve talked with clients who felt helplessly trapped in their emotional state. They had tried to change but couldn’t. Psychologically, their power to change, called agency, was diminished to the point of giving up. Like Edith in the remote African desert, they were held as an emotional hostage by the past. Only by gaining real agency can clients move toward wellness.

Follow the link to read the entire essay

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