Lisa Jane Miller is a professor, researcher and clinical psychologist, best known as a research scholar on spirituality in psychology. Miller has worked for two decades to integrate spirituality into mainstream research on mental health and wellness publishing over 85 empirical peer review article on spirituality and mental health in leading medical and psychology journals, including the American Journal of Psychiatry and Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Her work focuses on the spiritual awareness of children, adolescents and parents, and benefits to mental health and wellness of spiritual awareness. She founded the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University, the first Ivy League graduate program in spirituality and psychology. Dr. Miller is best known as the author of the New York Times Best Seller The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving (St. Martin's Press) which also hit #1 Family Nielsen Ratings, Psychology Best Seller USA Today and Non-Fiction Best Seller Publishers Weekly.
Miller obtained a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a doctorate under Martin Seligman, Ph.D., founder of the positive psychology movement, at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997 as a postdoc at Columbia University Medical School, she first authored the initial published article in a leading psychiatry journal on spirituality as protective against depression in youth. Based on this break through article, Miller was awarded a highly prestigious William T. Grant Scholars Award to develop her research on spirituality and resilience in youth.
Early experiences in her career led her to become interested in the spiritual strength as source of coping and resilience, and road to thriving and truth. Children and adolescents need support from parents and community with spiritual growth and development. Women, particularly mothers of young children, have profound spiritual experiences which are not commonly supported or understood by the mainstream field of psychology. She introduced in the mainstream scholarly press a Postmaterial Spiritual Psychology, based upon notions such as superposition and field theory, such that a new generation of psychology might keep pace with contemporary physics.
Children with spiritual experiences find themselves without support and guidance. "Admitting to profound spiritual experience is often ignored, and can be difficult for children, who might find themselves ostracized and discriminated against for embracing their natural awareness or gifts," she said. Miller said she once met an elementary school boy from Texas who felt the spirit of his deceased grandmother and shared the experience with his classmates, for which he was asked to leave class.
Miller is Director of Clinical Psychology and Founder of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University, Teachers College. Miller is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Spirituality in Clinical Practice published by the American Psychological Association, the first peer review academic journal dedicated to spirituality as a source of healing and growth in treatment and wellbeing work. She is solo editor of the "Oxford University Press Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality" in which she articulates a vision of spiritual psychology.
Miller is a frequent television commentator who has been on the Weekend Today Show, Larry King Live, ABC Nightline, Fox News, MSNBC and talk shows. Miller advocates for children and women who are not understood by the mainstream field of psychology, such as in her work with children in Psychic Kids and related appearance on Larry King Live. Miller explains the awareness and attunement of children through the lens of 21st century postmaterial spiritual psychology (Watching for Light: A Spiritual Psychology Beyond Materialism, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2010; Oxford University Press Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality, 2012). She is author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving (St. Martin's Press, 2015)
Miller co-hosted a season in 2009 of the show Psychic Kids on AE. Miller says she participated in the A&E series because "this is an opportunity to share more broadly with our culture the psychic experiences of children and to understand what their experience says about our own daily lived reality." Her goal is to make acceptance of spiritual and psychic influences more common in the United States as they are in other nations such as China and Mexico. Over the past decade, Miller has spoken for thousands of parents, educators and youth activists on spiritual growth and flourishing in children and adolescence.
For her work integrating spirituality into mainstream psychology, Miller has been cited for her "moral courage" by clinical scientists, religious leaders and youth activists. Spiritual psychology is now taught at the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University, Teachers College.