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Kirk A. Bingaman
Dr. Kirk Bingaman is professor of pastoral mental health counseling in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University. He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the State of New York, a Psychotherapist member with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), and an ordained Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister. Dr. Bingaman serves on the editorial board of the journal, Pastoral Psychology, is a member of the New Directions in Pastoral Theology Group (sponsored by Princeton Theological Seminary), and is the editor for the book series, Emerging Perspectives in Pastoral Theology and Care (Lexington Books). From 2008-2014, he was the co-chair of the Psychology, Culture, and Religion (PCR) group of the American Academy of Religion (AAR).
Dr. Bingaman is the author of several books, including Freud and Faith: Living in the Tension (2003, SUNY Press) and Treating the New Anxiety: A Cognitive-Theological Approach (2007, Jason Aronson). His current research focuses on the application of neuroscientific findings to the practice of pastoral/spiritual care and pastoral mental health counseling, which is the focus of his 2014 book, The Power of Neuroplasticity for Pastoral and Spiritual Care (Lexington Books). Dr. Bingaman’s most recent book, Pastoral and Spiritual Care in a Digital Age: The Future Is Now (2018, Lexington Books), explores the present and potential future impact of digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) on human development and human nature, and the implications for pastoral/spiritual care providers, clinical practitioners, and religious faith communities.
Dr. Bingaman is committed to helping students contextualize the practice of pastoral care and counseling in today’s anxious world, which is characterized by increasing uncertainty and unrelenting change. He explores the application of contemplative neuroscience to the work of pastoral care and counseling, in particular the finding that regular contemplative-meditational practice enhances areas of the brain associated with health and well-being while quieting other neural regions associated with stress and anxiety. Dr. Bingaman introduces students to mindfulness-based therapeutic approaches for helping clients and congregants learn to develop more compassionate and less anxious and fearful perspectives about life. A leader in the field in researching the advance and proliferation of digital technologies, including the impact of AI and social media, he is uniquely qualified to help students explore the spiritual, psychological, and therapeutic implications as we and those in our care become more technologically enhanced human beings.
The application of neuroscientific research to pastoral/spiritual care, pastoral mental health counseling, and psychotherapy, in particular the finding that activity in the stress region of the brain can be lowered over time through regular contemplative-meditational practice. Additionally, a focus on the impact of digital technologies (including social media) and artificial intelligence (AI) on human development and human nature, and the implications for pastoral care and counseling.