Since January, Dr. Rolf Nolasco has travelled the world, participating in conferences and presenting his project, Compassionate Presence: A Radical Response to Human Suffering, to audiences in Canada, the United States, Japan, the Philippines, Rwanda, Italy and Switzerland.
The project, described in his book of the same name, came to fruition thanks to a grant from Templeton Religion Trust awarded last November. Dr. Nolasco, Professor of Counselling Psychology at Providence Theological Seminary’s Calgary extension site, has since led workshops, organized retreats and participated in workshops on four continents.
And there remains much work to be done in what is a growing field.
“The burgeoning interest in the intersection of counselling psychology, neuroscience and spirituality among health practitioners has opened up further teaching opportunities,” he writes in his Progress Report. “Indeed, there is still more work to be done in helping individuals and communities nurture and sustain the trait of compassion.”
Dr. Nolasco points to a workshop in Kigali, Rwanda as a particular highlight. Over two days he worked with lay counselling graduates and current students, introducing the “neurological and psychological underpinnings of compassion” that, he says, complemented their existing theological understanding.
“Learning the basics of mindfulness and contemplation and guiding them through compassion cultivation practices provided them with specific resources that they can use for themselves and in their work with others,” he writes.