“I Got Soul”: Soulfulness, Culture, and Contemplative Practice

“I Got Soul”: Soulfulness, Culture, and Contemplative Practice

A webinar with Shelly P. Harrell, Ph.D.
Professor, Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Originally broadcast on Friday, June 28, 2019
3 pm – 4 pm ET / 12 pm – 1 pm PT
Free and open to all, with a $10 optional, suggested donation

Additional Resources:

This webinar will introduce “soulfulness” as an approach to contemplative practice that centers a synergistic integration of the psychological, spiritual, and cultural dimensions of soul. Soulfulness is characterized by themes emerging from diasporic African cultural influences and inspired by an African American cultural sensibility. These themes include an ethos of interconnectedness (with persons, community, na­ture, ancestors, Spirit), a relational/communal orientation, the centrality of spirituality, creativity and improvisation, a holistic orientation to human experience, emotional expressiveness, resilience and overcoming adversity, and struggles for liberation in the context of historical and ongoing dehumanization and oppression.

The webinar will provide an overview of the SOUL-Centered Practice (SCP) framework as a foundation to guide the­ory, research, and practice. Soulfulness seeks to contribute to increasing efforts to improve the cultural attunement of mindfulness meditation and other contemplative practices, and inform the development of culturally-syntonic strategies and exercises. The framework provides a structure for integrating soulfulness into contemplative work, as well as guidance in the development and implementation of soulfulness practices. The approach is intentional in its attention to healing and resisting the dehumanization, soul assaults, and soul wounds of racism and intersectional stress/trauma experienced by historically oppressed, marginalized, mi­nority-status, and stigmatized groups. The ultimate goal of the emerging soulfulness approach is to contribute to the utilization of contemplative practice for the elevation our collective well-being as an interconnected human community in the context of cultural diversity and the ongoing struggles for liberation and social justice.

Goals of the webinar include:

  1. To introduce soulfulness as an approach to contemplative practice
  2. To describe the foundations of the soulfulness approach in African diasporic culture and the centrality of “soul” in the African American experience
  3. To provide an overview of the SOUL-Centered Practice (SCP) framework
  4. To present the Eight Cs of Soulfulness: Communion, Centeredness, Congruence, Calling, Consciousness, Creativity, Courage, and Coexistence
  5. To present examples of soulfulness practices and applications

About the Presenter

Shelly Harrell, PhDShelly P. Harrell, Ph.D. is a psychologist whose work focuses on individual, relational, and collective well-being in the context of culture and oppression. She has been a Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology for 20 years where she primarily teaches and trains students in their clinical psychology doctoral program. Her current research involves the development of a resilience-oriented group intervention integrating contemplative, communal, and empowerment change processes. Her applied work includes workshops and consulting on culturally-attuned psychotherapeutic interventions, cultural adaptation of evidence-based practices, stress and resilience, dynamics of difference, intergroup relations, and cultural diversity in the training of mental health professionals. She introduced soulfulness in the Journal of Contemplative Inquiry in 2018. Her soulfulness approach to contemplative practice has been presented at several conferences including CMind’s in 2018. Dr. Harrell has numerous publications and professional presentations on topics including racism-related stress, intergroup relations, diversity principles for practice, therapeutic journaling, race and culture in clinical supervision, and conceptualizing the role of culture in well-being. She conducts meditation workshops and classes in the predominantly African American and culturally diverse communities of Los Angeles. She also has a small psychotherapy practice.

About ACMHE Webinars

The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) is an initiative of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. The ACMHE’s free webinars allow you to view a live presentation online; you can listen to the presenter over your computer speakers, headphones, or VOIP headset, or by dialing into the audio with your phone. Questions and comments may be submitted to the presenters during the webinar.

Can’t join us for the live broadcast?
Don’t worry! We record our webinars and post them for public viewing on contemplativemind.org after the original air date.

If you have any questions, please email info@contemplativemind.org.


  1. Jo Keen on June 28, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Re: soulfulness webinar. It didn’t appear that my feedback made it…possible glitch…I wanted you to see it…
    “My own resonance with the truth in what was shared – plowed into my limited perspectives in a wonderfully human way…a conversion-like experience in only an hour’s exposure…
    I love quotes too…lol…thnx!

    • Carrie Bergman on July 1, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Thank you, Jo! Glad it was helpful. I had a similar experience; I took SO many photos of the screen for reference. I’m planning on getting the recording and slides posted tomorrow so that all can access it. – Carrie, CMind webmaster

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