John Chirban, Ph.D., Th.D., has taught about relationships, sexuality, and spirituality at his alma mater, Harvard University, for more than thirty years, and serves as a psychologist at The Cambridge Health Alliance at Harvard Medical School and lecturer in the psychiatry residency program at Harvard Medical School.
He was named Advanced Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University and founded and directs Cambridge Counseling Associates, a full-service psychotherapy practice in Massachusetts, where he provides psychotherapy for adolescents and adults concerning various developmental and relational concerns.
Since its inception, he has served on the Advisory Board for the Dr. Phil Show, where he is also a frequent guest. Licensed in California and Massachusetts, Dr. Chirban also serves as a Guardian ad Litem, in Massachusetts, assisting families with divorce and is professor of psychology emeritus at Hellenic College.
Dr. Chirban writes two weekly blogs for Psychology Today on parenting and spirituality. Author of numerous books and articles, he recently authored Collateral Damage—Guiding and Protecting Your Child Through the Minefield of Divorce, by Harper Collins; What’s Love Got to Do with It, and How to Talk to Your Kids about Sex, True Coming of Age—A Dynamic Process that Leads to Emotional Well-Being, Spiritual Growth, and Meaningful Relationship, McGraw-Hill.
As a respite from your busy day, I invite you to peruse the contents of this website. But before you roam freely through the interviews, press releases, and other news, I would like to mention a few key ideas to aid you in navigating the site and in making your own voyage of self-discovery.
As I have described in True Coming of Age, I see life as a voyage, our quest for meaning and search for fulfillment. Because immediate demands and goals preoccupy us, we can easily ignore the vessel (our internal self) for our voyage. We must prepare a winning plan to reach our destination.
The success of our voyage depends on how we understand our initial ventures (managed our early experiences in life) and the sturdiness of our ship (our confidence) to proceed. The strongest winds and biggest storms will rarely steer a sturdy ship off course. If we are anchored in our True Self (our qualities of spontaneity, creativity, reasoning, freedom, discernment, spirituality, and love) and our Critical Connections (our relationship with self, other, and God), we are ready for most any challenge.
Our True Self and our Critical Connections form the intricate parts that create a seaworthy vessel. The rudder, our actions that guide us to our goals, steers our direction. The hull, the body of the ship, holds our precious cargo, that is, the body of our meaningful connections. The mast supports our sails to embrace the Spirit in our journey. With a strong relationship to Spirit, based in our beliefs, we open our sails and move steadily towards our destination. The bow and stern connect us to our opportunities in life, assuring integration and establishing equilibrium to keep our ship from tipping over from strong winds and waves. With such a vessel, we are ready to meet the challenge of the waters that we encounter.
All these elements: rudder, hull, mast, bow, and stern are necessary for a seaworthy vessel. In the same way, a strong understanding of our True Self is vital to us getting where we want to go. To discover the True Self we must develop our knowledge of our Self, our connections with others, and our relationship with God. By attending to these elements, we are assured of a meaningful journey and fulfilling life.
To get started on our voyage there are many questions to answer: How can we know what kind of a boat to construct for our voyage? Will we construct a small raft, susceptible to capsizing at the slightest ripple, or a ship built to sustain us in the toughest waters? And what happens once we build our ship? Will we keep our boat safely in dry dock, never venturing out onto the sea? Will we prematurely sail and find our self engulfed by a great wave or caught in a typhoon? Or will we construct a vessel prepared appropriately to reach our destination. You will answer these questions in your True Coming of Age.
I wish each ship calm tail winds and a fascinating course, knowing that you can reach your destination and experience your True Coming of Age--your purposeful journey in life.