Welcome, Grace & Peace...

Welcome to my blog, a transdisciplinary place of reflection on creativity, pastoral theology, and psychotherapy. Posts are few, so check back periodically to see what's new. Enjoy!

The Rev. Martha S. Jacobi., PhD, LCSW


Brainspotting Phase 1 Training in Plainview NY -- July 29-31, 2016

I am pleased to be teaching Brainspotting Phase 1, July 29-31, 2016, on the "campus" of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church & School, 99 Central Park Road, Plainview NY. Trainers Deborah Antinori & Christine Ranck will be assisting. this is the first BSP Phase 1 in the greater NYC area in many years!
Registration is open - online (at www.BrainspottingHappens-marthasjacobi.com - click on "Workshops & Trainings", then the "Registration" tab, & scroll down) -- and offline -- see below.


Brainspotting in Brazil -- & Paraguay (who goes to Paraguay? -- I do!)

I've recently returned from a most amazing journey to South America!

First stop was in Paraguay to visit with friends Moni & Luis Baumann. Moni is bringing Brainspotting to Paraguay, especially to the children of Ascuncion--they are so lucky & blessed to have her passion & expertise. The Paraguayan visit included an overnight at Luis's mother's home -- a working farm -- in "The Colony," dining on freshly slaughtered sheep, with much sipping of ritual mate, & a tri-lingual dinner conversation!

Moni & I then took the bus from Col Oviedo PY to Foz do Iguacu, Brasil for R&R at a "Make a Wish" foundation hotel, & a day trip to the Iguacu Falls -- truly a wonder of the world.  

Two short flights & a long van-transfer to Buzios, Brazil followed -- taking us to the 1st International Brainspotting Conference, at which I was honored to be teaching several workshops. Over 250 Brainspotters from 27 countries attended -- truly inspirational & enriching! -- including time for fun at Geriba Beach in Buzios.

Brazilian Conference Coordinators (L to R) with David Grand:
Esly Carvalho, Patricia Jacob, Cristiane Ramos

Left to Right (below):
David Grand, Martha Jacobi, Moni Baumann & Mark Grixti

Geriba Beach

1st International Brainspotting Conference, Buzios, RJ, Brasil

What remains, post conference?

A deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity - and means - to make this trip; new friends & colleagues; a commitment to improve my written & spoken Portugese & Spanish(!); indelible memories; and a sense of connection, community, & commitment to the work of individual, family, community, & global healing.


Finally -- Martha has a professional website!

It's been a long time coming -- and a bit of a "learning curve" -- but it's up & running!
Please visit, at:
or simply, www.marthasjacobi.com


Relativity & Enduring

Someone accidentally drew my attention today, to the fact that the blog has gone unattended for... a while... nearly four years. Yet it seems a blink-of-the-eye until I stop to reflect on all that has happened, and then again it can still seem a blink-of-the eye. Or maybe one of those "wrinkles" in time...or a quantum leap of some sort...

In the middle, my mom died, my dad's dementia went into high gear~as did various other medical issues he had~my kitty died, one of the new adopted baby kittens died when anesthetized for her spaying, my dad died.... three more new kitties came into my life ~ and a son-in-law...  I could go on...  And that's just the mere microcosm of one woman's life...

So I've been living, not just thinking, about loss. About transiency. About what endures. About life. About death.
About faith.
About hope.
About love.
About reality and illusion.
About relativity and perspective.
About the saving of starfish, one at a time.

In the end, my family therapy teacher, Edwin Friedman, was right: "There are those times in life when all you have is yourself, your Book, and your God." Ed was a rabbi turned psychologist, a somewhat odd, but very wise man. 

If you're very lucky and/or very blessed, you might also have a friend who helps you save the starfish that have washed up on the beach. One.by.One. I am a lucky, blessed woman. Thank you JCC. 
I love you.


At Long Last

A dance improvisation with my longtime friend and classmate, Marina Gobins Walchli, performed at the 2011 gathering of Interlochen Arts Academy alums, "1969-1972 or so..."   Video by Lawrence Probes.


30 years and counting...

I realized, yesterday, that my ordination happened on the summer solstace--the "longest day" of the year-- the day with the most sunlight, in the northern hemisphere. My husband & I joked about what manner of metaphoric meaning might be contained therein, as the 30th anniversary of the ordination came...and went...a moment in time...a moment marking the passing of time...a moment representing more than half  of my life-time...

It was a beautiful day in New York: warm, but not too hot, nor humid.  Idyllic. A perfect day.

Minstry, however, is not always like that, on the outside. Yet in a deeper sense, it is... Ministry is about being with others in the contexts of their lives. It is about incarnational embodiment of the Gospel. It is about the unexpected popping up in the midst of the ordinary, the hum-drum, the up-and-down days. It is about bath & meal & conversation: font, table, and pulpit. Ministry is about suffering & joy; consternation & celebration; or, in Frederick Buechner's words, about "Comedy, Tragedy, & Fairy Tale."

Thirty years have come and gone since that summer solstace of 1981; it does not seem possible, most of the time.  And yet, as I think back, I see faces and remember names, across places & spaces... A child baptized, and buried three months later; another child receiving first communion--soon to be, herself, ordained! ("Grace: God's love given freely." --and if she is reading this, she knows who she is.) I remember the single mom struggling with her four children and living in poverty; I remember the retired church-men (yes, men) gathering to talk and do "handyman" work around the church. I remember the work-release programs of the upstate prisons, and the ministry of hospitality of the Ladies' Aid, the Frauen Verein, and the LCW... the forthrightness of GF:  "So, what are you in for?" Inmate: "Manslaughter."  GF:  "Oh. Have some cake?") ...  precious memories, precious times. Thirty years later, new memories are being forged, new relatonships born, nuances of ministry explored...

...like that of having found myself ecclesiastically homeless, in 2004, for reasons far beyond the scope of this blog -- and being welcomed into a new church home, in the city.... St. Luke's, the Lutheran Church near Times Square... first as a member & later, as pastoral associate. Word and Sacrament, there, support and sustain the healing work of pastoral psychotherapy; the practice deepens and enriches the ministry at St. Luke's --  interlocking circles of Word, faith, & grace.


Creativity Consciousness...

I just finished reading yet another book about providing psychotherapy with trauma survivors. It had some fresh perspectives on conceptualizing the work... but in the end, after all the theory had come and gone, after certain examples sounded technologically "dated" only 4 years after publication(!) -- one sentence stood out for me:  that certain interventions "can be accomplished in a variety of ways, limited only by the creativity of the patient and therapist." (italics, mine)

This is one of the "gutsiest" sentences I've read recently, flying in the face of recipe-like protocols, cost-management of treatment, and what I believe to be an over-dependence on quantitative outcome measures. Creativity -- of both patient and therapist...  I hear the phrase suggesting a collaborative, mutuality of imagination; a foray into the mystical places and workings of the brain, mind, & spirit that I call the "land of no words."  It is where science meets art, inspiration, and the wisdom of the ages. It is also the way I work, as a therapist, a liturgist, a preacher.

Creativity, I think, is both movement and stillness; action and state-of-being. It is both a hallmark and a part of the birthing process of healing. Creativity enters into what now is with possibilities of what else could be. Creativity envisions what is -- and is not -- already there to be seen; the expected and unexpected, the up and the down, the inside and the outside and everything in between... it is the conjurer of paradoxes like the mobius strip, and conundrums of perspective.

Eventually "it" lands in the concrete words and behavior of the therapy room and/or the sanctuary: healing movement in sacred space, and God is present in the mists of mind, in the midst of human meeting.