Events / August 4, 2023

The Convergence 2023

Join medical professionals and theologians for an online event as they pursue a holistic approach that cares for people navigating mental health challenges.


About the Virtual Event

When we shared the worldwide experience of the pandemic lockdown, many people began to experience unsettling anxiety; struggles previously unknown surfaced and existing issues intensified. Now we—particularly healthcare and pastoral professionals—find ourselves responding to multiple mental health issues. Challenging discourses surrounding mental health issues have begun gaining credibility as something to be engaged in rather than hidden.

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations and Dallas Theological Seminary invite you to join us as we engage mental health issues that overlap within the theological and healthcare communities. Our goal is to explore both the medical and spiritual realities of mental health, developing a holistic approach for those struggling in various ways. This kind of wellness is only possible when those caring for the body and soul collaborate meaningfully. We are thrilled to host such an important dialogue. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to participate virtually in this timely and practical conversation!

Online Event Details

Dates: Friday, August 4 – Saturday, August 5

Times: Friday 7:00-9:00PM, Saturday 9:00AM-4:00PM CT

Virtual Access: This event will be online only, using the Whova app on your device.

Cost: Regular Admission $160; CMDA and DTS Family $60; Student Rate $30

Continuing Education: Credits are available for this conference, see details here.


Friday, August 4

Plenary Session 1: The State of American Mental Health
7:00 PM
9:00 PM

Saturday, August 5

Plenary Session 2: Trauma, Social Media, and Mental Health
9:00 AM
10:30 AM
Workshop Session 1
10:45 AM
11:45 AM
Workshop Session 2
12:45 PM
1:45 PM
Plenary Session 3: The Danger of Burnout
2:00 PM
4:00 PM

About Our Partnership

The Convergence is an annual gathering of theological and healthcare communities hosted by The Christian Medical & Dental Associations and The Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary. Each year we identify a "Critical Conversation" where medical realities and biblical truths interconnect. Some previous conversations have included right of conscience and questions concerning gender and identity. We also host an annual webinar and would love to have you join us on our next one!

Conference Workshops

Attendees may select two workshops from the available options:


Karl Benzio, MD

State of American Mental Health; Medicating Mental Health

Karl Benzio, M.D., a board-certified Christian psychiatrist, has held various health system clinical and leadership positions. Currently, he is Medical Director and Cofounder of the Honey Lake Clinic and Medical Director of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He uniquely implements a faith-informed, Jesus-centered application of cutting­ edge psychiatric science to successfully treat patients, equip ministries, teach, write, and serve as a frequent media guest expert and conference speaker to provide expert social policy testimony. He holds a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and an M.D. from Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School; his Psychiatric Residency was at UC-Irvine. His expertise is integrating brain physiology, psychological science, and spiritual truths to teach decision-making processes, mechanics, and neuroplasticity with endless application to every facet of psychospiritual health and functioning. He loves Jesus and the Bible; has been married to his best friend, Martine, for over thirty years; and is a father to three incredible daughters: Dominique (husband Adam), Nicole (husband Connor), and Gigi.

Robert Duckworth, PhD, LPC-S

State of American Mental Health

Robert Duckworth, a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Approved Supervisor in Texas, serves at DTS as the Director of Counseling Services and adjunct faculty in the Counseling Ministries department. In addition to the leadership he provides to the Seminary’s wellness initiatives, he also enjoys launching new counselors when teaching counseling-related courses at DTS. Robert has a vast amount of experience working with youth in the juvenile justice system who have been challenged with delinquency, behavioral concerns, family crisis, and substance use. For nearly a decade, Robert was responsible for providing mental health services to youth at Hunt County Juvenile Probation Services in Greenville, TX; eventually he was promoted to clinical director for that agency. Robert is enthusiastic about the restoration of families negatively impacted by socioeconomic challenges and the criminal justice system. Specifically, his clinical approach encompasses narrative and cognitive behavioral therapies. He enjoys presenting pertinent content related to mental health and wellness at state and national conferences. Robert is a member of the American Counseling Association, Association for Counselor Education & Supervision (ACES), and the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS). Robert and his family are active members of North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship. He is married to Asara, and they have three children: Asher, Leah, and Jack.

Ted Hamilton, MD


A graduate of Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Ted Hamilton trained in family medicine at Florida Hospital (now AdventHealth Orlando) before opening solo practice in the rural Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. His varied career has included experience in patient care, medical education, and healthcare administration. He has cared for thousands of patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings, delivered hundreds of babies, performed or assisted with countless surgeries, and has, like most of us, experienced medical care as a patient himself.

Charissa Fry Lopez, MA

From Boomers to Alphas: Mental Health Challenges and Solutions

Charissa Lopez loves her role as wife to Adrian and mom to Varian (9). They attend All Saints Dallas. Charissa graduated in 2005 with an MABS and traded in for an MABC in 2012. She ministered for 15+ years in recovery communities–participating, leading, and founding. In private practice she counsels clients throughout the lifespan with specialized training in kids, families, attachment, and trauma. Charissa enjoys speaking and trains local non-profits, schools, and ministries on the intersection of mental health, faith, trauma, and attachment. She's on the mental health advisory board for Youth Equipped to Succeed and Vickery Trading Co.

Barbara Lowe, PhD

Trauma, Social Media, and Mental Health

Barbara Lowe is a licensed psychologist, founder, and owner of Greenleaf Psychological and Support Services (GPSS). GPSS is a large multi-site psychological practice in Raleigh/Durham North Carolina where clinicians deliver the best of psychological science and integrate faith upon request, for healing the soul and renewing the spirit. She is the owner and visionary behind the newly launched Greenleaf Training Center for Psychotherapists. Barbara also created the Heart Journey method of inner healing, which uses indigenous Christian Psychology where it intersects with conventional psychology to heal the biblical domain of the “heart”. She is also the visionary behind Dr. Barbara Ministries, a Somatic Experience practitioner, an EMDR practitioner, a Master ART Therapist, a Board Certified Life Coach, an educator, an ordained minister, a national speaker, and an author. Barbara Lowe received her PhD from UNC-CH in School Psychology.

Tom Nelson, DMin

The Danger of Burnout

Tom Nelson is president of Made to Flourish, a network that seeks to empower pastors to lead churches that produce human flourishing for the common good. He has also served as senior pastor of Christ Community Church in the Kansas City area for over 30 years. Tom is the author of Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, Economics of Neighborly Love: Investing in Your Community's Compassion and Capacity, and The Flourishing Pastor: Recovering the Lost Art of Shepherd Leadership.

Andi Thacker, PhD, LPC-S

Cultivating Mental Health

Andi Thacker is an associate professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. She maintains a small private practice where she works with kids, teens, and families. Andi completed her training with a master's degree in counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of North Texas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Approved Supervisor in Texas. She has been married to Chad since 2003, and they have three children: Emerson, Will, and Webb.