How To Maintain Spirituality In Counseling?

Spirituality as a therapeutic strategy “Techniques include use of prayer during a session, ways to direct clients to pray, spiritual journaling, forgiveness protocols, using biblical texts to reinforce healthy mental and emotional habits and working to change punitive God images.”

What is spirituality in counseling?

  • Spiritual counseling is a newer approach to therapy that tries to incorporate spirituality into mental health treatment. While religion, spirituality, and therapy have been kept separate, therapists are now beginning to see value in combining spiritual beliefs in the healing process.


How do you integrate spirituality into counseling?

Integrating religious and spiritual themes into psychotherapy may range from asking the questions about a client’s beliefs, values, and practices to making specific values based recommendations and recommendations for engaging in particular religious activities and practices such as meditation or prayer.

What is spirituality in Counselling?

Spiritual counsellors need cross-cultural awareness and an understanding of spiritual emergency and other issues of spirituality. In spiritual counselling, the emphasis is on wholeness, dealing with the whole person, and assisting the client in inner balance and integration of all the dimensions of self.

Why is spirituality important in counseling?

Spirituality and religion are critical sources of strength for many clients, are the bedrock for finding meaning in life, and can be instrumental in promoting healing and well-being. Counselors can make use of the spiritual and religious beliefs of their clients to help them explore and resolve their problems.

How do I put spirituality into practice?

Praying more, meditating more, attending gatherings of like-minded believers more often and joining a prayer or meditation group are just a few ways you can put your spirituality into practice.

What are spiritual interventions?

Spiritual interventions are approaches that involve religious or existential aspects such as finding meaning and purpose in life. Spiritual interventions may include activities such as spiritual counseling, meaning-focused meditation, or psychotherapy.

Why must counselors be careful when discussion of spirituality comes up in counseling sessions?

Both therapists and people seeking treatment may hesitate to include spirituality or religion in the practice of therapy, due to the potential of differing beliefs and the possible controversy of the topic.

Why is spirituality so important?

It encourages people to have better relationships with themselves, others, and the unknown. Spirituality can help you deal with stress by giving you a sense of peace, purpose, and forgiveness. It often becomes more important in times of emotional stress or illness. Positive impacts of spirituality.

What is spiritual approach?

Spirituality is the broad concept of a belief in something beyond the self. It may involve religious traditions centering on the belief in a higher power, but it can also involve a holistic belief in an individual connection to others and to the world as a whole.

Why is religion important in counseling?

All religions highlight the importance of having spiritual values like kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and love. Religious faith helps build a person’s character and personality. Counseling and therapy can apply these core values in their sessions, especially if their client is religious.

How do you deal with spiritual issues?

7 ways to help someone suffering from spiritual distress

  1. Recognize the signs of spiritual distress.
  2. Accept that things will be different.
  3. Find good listeners.
  4. It’s okay to say no.
  5. Help yourself by helping others.
  6. Take care of yourself.
  7. Seek support.

How can counselors maintain spirituality in and out of practice?

“Techniques include use of prayer during a session, ways to direct clients to pray, spiritual journaling, forgiveness protocols, using biblical texts to reinforce healthy mental and emotional habits and working to change punitive God images.”

What are the 3 elements of spirituality?

The shamans, healers, sages, and wisdom keepers of all times, all continents, and all peoples, in their ageless wisdom, say that human spirituality is composed of three aspects: relationships, values, and life purpose.

How do you maintain spiritual growth?

Seven Ways to Improve Your Spiritual Health

  1. Explore your spiritual core. By exploring your spiritual core, you are simply asking yourself questions about the person you are and your meaning.
  2. Look for deeper meanings.
  3. Get it out.
  4. Try yoga.
  5. Travel.
  6. Think positively.
  7. Take time to meditate.

Spirituality in Therapy, Spiritual Counseling, Therapy for Spirituality

Traditional definitions of spirituality include the search for transcendent meaning or faith that there is something larger than us that exists beyond of time and space. Despite the fact that it can be tied to religion, the practice of spirituality is typically regarded to transcend beyond religion and connect people with something greater, such as the cosmos itself. Therapists and others seeking treatment may be hesitant to incorporate spirituality or religion into the practice of therapy because of the possibility of conflicting views and the potential for controversy around the subject matter.

  • Traditional definitions of spirituality include the search for transcendent meaning or faith that there is something larger than humans that exists outside of the human experience. Although it can be tied to religion, the practice of spirituality is typically regarded to go beyond religion and connect individuals with something greater, such as the cosmos itself, than religion. In order to avoid the possibility of different opinions and the possibility of controversy, both therapists and those seeking treatment may be hesitant to integrate spirituality or religion in their treatment plans. Researchers have shown that include a person’s spiritual beliefs in treatment and the healing process can help the individual heal more quickly.

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality is often considered to be more expansive than any one religion or belief system, since it encompasses areas of cognitive and philosophic thought, as well as dimensions of emotions and conduct, among other things. Attempting to comprehend one’s own nature or the reason of one’s life may be described as spirituality by some; nevertheless, spirituality is also associated with feelings of inward awareness and satisfaction. Numerous cultures and belief systems claim that a person’s spirit is the very essence of his or her being.

While some people define themselves as spiritual without subscribing to the doctrines of any religion or even having any religious thinking, for others, religion is the embodiment of their spirituality in its most extreme form.

Spirituality may also be defined as the amount of time and attention people devote to their own and others’ well-being.

What Is Spiritual Wellness?

Spirituality is typically seen as being more inclusive than any one religion or belief system, since it encompasses areas of cognitive and philosophic thinking as well as emotional and behavioral elements of one’s self. However, spirituality is not only associated with interior awareness and contentment, but it is also associated with the desire to comprehend one’s own nature or the reason of one’s own life. Spirit is considered to be the essence of one’s existence by many cultures and belief systems.

While some people identify themselves as spiritual without subscribing to the doctrines of any religion or even having any religious thinking, for others, religion is the manifestation of their spirituality in the physical world.

It is also possible to define spirituality as the amount of time and attention people devote to their own and others’ well-being. Many people find spiritual expression via the practice of dancing, yoga, meditation, or volunteer work, among other activities.

  • Spirituality is typically regarded to be more expansive than any one religion or belief system, since it encompasses areas of cognitive and philosophic thought, as well as aspects of emotions and conduct. Attempting to comprehend one’s own nature or the reason of one’s life may be described as spirituality by some
  • Nevertheless, spirituality is also associated with feelings of inner peace and contentment. Several cultures and belief systems claim that a person’s spirit is the very essence of his or her being. A person’s connection to others and to oneself may also be described as spirituality in certain situations. While some people define themselves as spiritual without subscribing to the doctrines of any religion or even having any religious thoughts, for others, religion is the embodiment of their spirituality. This expression may include the execution of rituals—in one tradition or in a blend of traditions—with varied degrees of devotion and participation in that faith. Spirituality may also be defined as the amount of time and effort people devote to their own and others’ well-being. Many people find that the practice of dancing, yoga, meditation, or volunteer work, among other things, are effective ways to express their spirituality.

People who are dealing with spiritual wellbeing may experience the following symptoms:

  • Feeling emptiness or as if life has no significance
  • Feeling nervous or uncomfortable on a regular basis
  • They are frequently under the impression that they must better themselves. Feeling careless or uninterested in one’s own life
  • Quick and/or harsh judgments of oneself and others are made
  • Finding it challenging to practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness
  • Lack of inner peace
  • Lack of a sense of belonging
  • Inability to express one’s feelings.

Spirituality vs. Religion

Some individuals believe that spirituality and religion are notions that are similar, if not same, in nature. Despite the fact that they are similar in some aspects, they are not the same. If you want to grasp the distinction between religion and spirituality, it might be helpful to think of religion as something that is practiced and spirituality as something that is just there. Most religious belief systems entail regular actions such as praying and attending church, while precise religious acts vary from religion to religion and may be found in the Bible.

  • Someone who engages in these activities may believe themselves to be quite religious, but persons who do not attend church on a regular basis may have just as strong a belief in a higher power as someone who does.
  • Spirituality may be thought of as the inner energy that exists within each individual.
  • Journaling, yoga, and meditation are examples of activities that might help people clarify their ideas and feelings.
  • They may feel encouraged by individuals who share their religious ideas, and they may gain strength from their own religious beliefs and prayers.
  • You don’t have to follow religious traditions or even believe in a higher power in order to derive meaning from your life and feel connected to the larger universe.
  • A sense of belonging and connection can aid in the promotion of resilience as well as the reduction of risk for certain mental health disorders.
  • According to research, taking into account a person’s spirituality or religious beliefs can result in better therapeutic outcomes.

Spirituality and Mental Health

Some individuals or families may be strongly dedicated to their religious beliefs and may center much of their life on spirituality or religion, while others may not. In addition to church attendance and volunteer activity in the community, prayer, religious meditation, or any other kind of spiritual connection may be incorporated into an individual’s self-care regimen.

Spiritual beliefs may also have a huge impact on a person’s capacity to cope with difficult situations in their lives. Spiritual activities have the potential to:

  • There are certain individuals or families that are extremely dedicated to their faith, focusing a significant portion of their life on spirituality or religion. In addition to church attendance and volunteer activity in the community, prayer, religious meditation, or any other kind of spiritual connection may be incorporated into a person’s self-care regimen. Spiritual beliefs can also have a big impact on a person’s capacity to cope with difficult situations in his or her daily life. Spiritual activities have the potential to do several things:
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It is possible that sensitivity on the part of a therapist will be beneficial to treatment when a person who is religious or spiritual seeks treatment. This will allow the therapist to conduct a more thorough evaluation of the person seeking treatment and to consider a wider range of treatment options. Therapists who are familiar with spiritually oriented therapeutic procedures, such as spiritual journaling or forgiveness protocols, may also be able to assist persons in treatment with resources on these issues, regardless of whether they are able to address them personally.

There is a greater power in many 12-step programs, albeit this power may not be recognized explicitly.

The spiritual beliefs of persons in treatment, according to a recent study, were found to have an influence on their levels of concern, stress, and tolerability of ambiguity.

Other research has established that spiritual counseling may be beneficial for persons who are struggling with substance misuse.

Spiritual Abuse

Some people may influence or control others by using their spiritual or religious beliefs. This is spiritual abuse on a grand scale. Spiritual abuse is not always simple to detect, especially when the victim feels that they are acting in accordance with their religious beliefs. However, it has the potential to produce severe and long-lasting consequences. Generally speaking, spiritual abuse occurs inside religious organizations, as well as within families and intimate relationships. Shame is a significant indicator of spiritual abuse.

The ability to think with one’s intellect is another indicator of spiritual abuse.

Following are some examples of spiritual abuse:

  • Extortion of money, commodities, or services via the use of religious or spiritual beliefs
  • Making use of a person’s spirituality in order to humiliate them
  • Insulting a person’s religious beliefs and customs
  • Forcing someone to make a decision that goes against their spiritual or religious convictions
  • It is not acceptable for parents to deny children the right to choose their own religious decisions.

Therapy may be beneficial for persons who have been subjected to spiritual abuse as well as those who seek to enhance their spiritual well-being. Find out more about the role of spirituality in treatment. References:

  1. In Dein et al.
  2. Cook et al.
  3. Powell et al.
  4. Eagger, S. (2010). Religion, spirituality, and mental health are all intertwined. The Psychiatrist is a professional who specializes in mental illness. Retrieved from Heinz, A., Disney, E., Epstein, D., Glezen, L., Clark, P., and Preston, K. Heinz, A., Disney, E., Epstein, D., Glezen, L., Clark, P., and Preston, K. (2010, September 22). A focus-group research on the topic of spirituality and drug misuse therapy was conducted. Maloof, P., ed., retrieved from (n.d.). A biopsychosocial-spiritual paradigm of health is being developed to integrate the body, mind, and spirit. Newman, L. L., ed., retrieved from (n.d.). Faith, spirituality, and religion: A framework for comprehending the contrasts between them The College of Student Affairs Journal is a publication dedicated to student affairs at the college level. It was retrieved from the following sources: Rosmarin, D.
  5. Pirutinsky, S.
  6. Auerbach, R.
  7. Björgvinsson, T.
  8. Bigda-Peyton, J.
  9. Andersson, G.
  10. Pargament, K.
  11. And Krumrei, E.
  12. And Björgvinsson (2011), Including spiritual ideas in a cognitive model of concern is a novel concept. J. Clin. Psychol., vol. 67, no. 6, pp. 691–700. Smith, E., et al., doi: 10.1002/jclp.20798
  13. Smith, E. (2016). What is your life’s meaning and purpose, and how can you achieve it? Spirituality and your health is a resource that was retrieved (n.d.). The University of Northern Iowa is a public research university in Iowa City, Iowa. Retrieved from Weber, S. R., and Pargament, K. I., et al., eds (2014). The importance of religion and spirituality on one’s mental well-being. Current Opinions in Psychiatry (Current Opinions in Psychiatry). What is spiritual abuse, and how does it manifest itself? (12th of November, 2015). The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a free service. This information was obtained from

Integrating Spirituality and Religion into Psychotherapy Practice

Dr. Barnett has provided a free companion Power Point presentation, which may be found here: Integrating Religion and Spirituality.ppt. For some psychotherapists, it may be easy to miss or avoid discussing our clients’ spirituality and religion over the course of treatment. Some of these difficulties may not have been addressed during our training, and as a result, they may not be considered relevant to our therapeutic work with clients. After all, we are not members of the church, but rather mental health experts.

Patients in psychotherapy, with the exception of those seeking faith-based treatment, frequently believe that psychotherapists are responsible for dealing with mental health issues and that members of the clergy are responsible for dealing with religious and spiritual concerns.

Some Definitions

Religion, according to Dew and colleagues (2008), is described as “an structured system of ideas, rituals, practices, and community that is directed toward the holy” (p. 382). Religion tends to be centered on formal organizations with ideas, rituals, and traditions that are well defined and largely accepted by the general public. As opposed to this, spirituality may be described as a “search for the holy, a process through which people attempt to find, hold on to, and in some cases, modify whatever they hold precious in their life” (HillPargament, 2008, p.

This can be a very private experience, and it is not required to be a part of religious experiences in an organized setting.

The APA Ethics Code

However, the American Psychological Association’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (APA Ethics Code, APA, 2010) speaks directly to these concerns in its consideration of diversity and individual differences in Principle E, Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity, which addresses these concerns. “Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role distinctions, including those based on. religion. and take these considerations into consideration when dealing with members of such groups,” the statement reads in part (p.

Furthermore, under Standard 3.01, Unfair Discrimination, the Ethics Code specifies that psychologists “do not participate in unfair discrimination based on.

or any other ground banned by law” in their work-related activities, according to the Code (p.

How is This Relevant to Me as a Psychotherapist?

For those of you who do not work as faith-based psychotherapists, it is likely that the debate above appears to be of little significance to your professional life. After all, you are aware that you are not biased and that you would never discriminate against clients based on their religious or spiritual views and practices. Prejudice and bias, on the other hand, are not the only essential elements to take into consideration. Many studies have demonstrated the importance of psychotherapists being educated of these concerns, being attentive to their probable function and meaning in our clients’ lives, and taking a proactive approach to resolving these issues.

  • Nine in ten Americans (92 percent) believe in the presence of God or an all-pervading spiritual force. 63% of American women and 44% of American men believe that religion is extremely important in their lives. Almost all Americans (92 percent) say they believe in God, and substantial majority (74 percent) believe in the afterlife and (63 percent) think that the Bible is God’s message. In addition to attending religious services on a regular basis (at least once or twice a month), the majority of Americans (54 percent) report that they attend worship services every week. Americans also participate in a wide range of private devotional activities, according to the survey. For example, nearly six out of ten people (58 percent) say they pray every day
  • Nearly six out of ten people (58 percent) say they believe in God. Individuals who are not associated with a specific religious tradition may not necessarily lack religious views or behaviors in and of themselves. Even among those who are not religious, a significant proportion (41 percent) believes that religion is at least somewhat important in their life, seven out of ten believe in God, and more than a quarter (27 percent) say they attend religious services at least a few times a year. (Source: Pew Research Center)

As a result, it is reasonable to presume that religion and spirituality are important in the lives of a big proportion of the clients who come into touch with a psychotherapist. However, while religious and spiritual difficulties may not be the major focus of treatment, they are likely to be important components of each client’s life, contributing to the definition of their values and beliefs, as well as their lifestyle choices and decision-making processes.

As a result, according to Principle E of the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code (APA, 2010), psychologists should be attentive to, aware of, and respectful of all individual variations, including religious and spiritual views, values, and practices, among others.

Relevance to the Practice of Psychotherapy

There are two key reasons why this is so crucial for any psychotherapist: first, it allows them to better understand their clients.

  1. When it comes to the underlying difficulties that cause individuals to seek treatment, religious and spiritual issues may be crucial considerations. Conflicts over religious ideals, crises of faith, feelings of alienation from one’s religion, and distortion of religious ideas and practices are only a few examples of what may go wrong with religion. As part of psychotherapy, individuals may be encouraged to draw on their religious and spiritual beliefs, as well as their faith community, as sources of strength and support. This can help them reach their treatment objectives.

As a result, failing to acknowledge or purposely ignoring or avoiding addressing each client’s religious and spiritual beliefs and practices may be a significant disservice to them. It is vital to emphasize that the beliefs, values, and practices of the psychotherapist are not the most relevant factors in this case; rather, the beliefs, values, and practices of the client are.

Implications for Clinical Practice

The recommendation is that every client be questioned about these concerns at the initial intake or assessment phase of treatment. The fact that psychotherapy is not focused on religious and spiritual problems does not imply that it will be in the future. Instead, asking these questions and bringing up these concerns for the client to consider and respond to helps to support each client’s autonomy in making decisions about their treatment plan and course of action. If we never bring up these concerns or ask these questions, clients may come to the conclusion that these are not topics that should be handled with psychotherapists on their own.

The client’s religious and spiritual background, current practices, their role in the client’s life in the past and in the present, how important these are to the client, and the influence they may have on his or her values and beliefs are examples of specific questions that can be asked.

Interestingly, writers such as Frazer and Hansen (2009) and Hathaway, Scott, and Garver (2004) discovered that many psychotherapists fail to ask these questions or bring up these topics with their clients, despite the fact that they are important.

Key Ethics Issues for Psychotherapists to Consider

A variety of ethical considerations must be considered when treating religious and spiritual problems, beliefs, and practices in psychotherapy in a deliberate and acceptable manner. For example, informed consent, clinical competence, consultation and collaboration with other professionals, boundaries and multiple relationships, the imposition of one’s values on clients, incorporating religious and spiritual themes into ongoing psychotherapy, and the use of a thoughtful decision-making approach to making decisions about each of these issues are all important considerations.

Informed consent

When it comes to psychotherapy, clients have the right to be informed of any relevant facts that may reasonably be expected to affect or impact their decision to engage in the session. In addition, informed consent should cover all reasonably accessible treatment alternatives, as well as the risks and benefits associated with each option.

Based on the discussion above, it is intended that the inclusion of religious and spiritual concerns, as well as their potential importance to therapy, would be seen as mandatory.

Clinical competence

Psychotherapists must educate themselves on the main faiths, as well as spiritual beliefs and practices, in order to deliver appropriate psychotherapy to their clients. Psychotherapists should also be aware of their own limitations in terms of knowledge and clinical expertise, seeking advice from expert colleagues and members of the clergy when they are unsure of what knowledge they should have or when confronted with clinical situations that are outside their area of expertise. Before attempting to include religious or spiritual activities into psychotherapy, psychotherapists should verify that they have received thorough training and professional supervision in their field.

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Consultation and collaboration with other professionals

Psychotherapists should consult with experienced colleagues and members of the clergy on a continuous basis when confronted with obstacles and issues, and with the agreement of the client when discussing specific information about a particular client. A client’s treatment may need collaboration with members of the clergy at various points along the process. As previously said, this should only be done with the client’s informed agreement, although it is possible that such collaboration is in the client’s best interests and should thus be explored.

Boundaries and multiple relationships

When dealing with religious and spiritual matters with clients in psychotherapy, psychotherapists should be aware of the possibility of transitioning from the position of psychotherapist to the role of clergy. This is particularly important when incorporating religious and spiritual traditions into psychotherapy. It is also important for psychotherapists to exercise caution when forcing their ideals on clients and when adopting a prescriptive approach in treatment.

Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Psychotherapy and Ethical Decision-Making

When incorporating religious and spiritual themes into psychotherapy, a therapist may do anything from asking questions about a client’s beliefs, values, and practices to making specific values-based recommendations and encouraging clients to participate in specific religious activities and practices such as meditation or prayer. The incorporation of spiritual and religious interventions into psychotherapy may involve activities such as reading selected parts of scripture with the client in session and praying along with the client in session, among other activities.

There are a variety of decision-making models available that can assist psychotherapists in making thoughtful and informed decisions about how and when to address religious and spiritual issues with clients, as well as how and when, and when not, to incorporate religious and spiritual interventions into their psychotherapy sessions.

Each phase in their decision-making process comprises a variety of details and aspects to take into consideration, however the following are the fundamental steps of their model:

  • Assess the religious or spiritual views and preferences of the customer in a respectful manner
  • Examine the possibility of a link between the presenting problem and religious or spiritual beliefs and convictions
  • Incorporate the findings of this evaluation into the process of informed consent. Consider your countertransference to the religiousness of the client in all seriousness
  • In this situation, be honest with yourself about your abilities. Obtain the advice of professionals in the fields of religion and psychology. Whenever it is acceptable and clinically warranted, and when the client grants consent, consult with the client’s own clergy or other religious professionals. Make a judgment on whether or not to treat the client or send him or her to another provider. (Pages 159-161)
  • Evaluate the results and make adjustments to the strategy.


After reading this brief article, it should be clear that it serves only as an introduction to the subject, and that all psychotherapists should continue their education on religion and spirituality, including how they may impact individuals’ mental health, how they may be relevant to clients’ psychotherapy, and how they may be addressed and integrated into ongoing psychotherapy after the ethical issues mentioned above have been thoughtfully considered and addressed.

Being educated and informed about religious and spiritual issues, consulting and collaborating with other professionals on a regular basis, maintaining appropriate boundaries, possessing and practicing within one’s clinical competence and scope of practice, and employing a thoughtful decision-making process when making decisions about these issues are all strongly encouraged.

The Benefits of Spiritual Counseling

What is the relationship between spirituality and mental health? A number of recent studies have revealed that the two are more connected than most people would believe. Mental health professionals are beginning to recognize that spiritual well-being is a fundamental requirement for a large number of people. Thus, a growing number of professional therapists are incorporating spirituality and/or religious beliefs into their therapy practice. The fundamentals of spiritual therapy are covered in this article.

We also explore the limitations of spiritual therapy, the types of mental health disorders for which it is most effective, and how to select the most appropriate spiritual counselor for your specific need.

Spiritual Counseling: What is it?

Spiritual counseling goes beyond typical types of psychotherapy by recognizing the significance of religion or spirituality in a person’s life and working to enhance that relevance. Standard therapeutic procedures will be combined with religious/spiritual practices and wisdom in order to achieve this goal. A licensed health-care practitioner, such as a psychologist, social worker, or nurse, who has completed extra training in spiritual counseling is most often used to provide spiritual counseling services.

Spirituality vs Religion

When it comes to describing a person’s views and behaviors regarding their relationship with a higher power, the terms spirituality and religion are both used interchangeably. But what exactly is the distinction between the two? For starters, people who practice different religions each worship a different deity. God/Jesus, HaShem, Muhammad, and Shiva are all examples of deities. In the case of spirituality, on the other hand, this greater force is described in a more generalized manner than in science.

Spirituality differs from religion in that it does not have any explicitly established belief systems or activities.

Many individuals consider religion to be a reflection of their spirituality rather than a separate entity.

The terms religion and spirituality will be used interchangeably and generically in this article to refer to a person’s belief in a higher power, and will be used to mean the same thing.

Do I Have to Be Religious to Benefit From Spiritual Counseling?

In order to benefit from spiritual therapy, you are not need to be religious. This type of treatment is offered to everybody, including individuals who do not consider themselves to be religious in any way. A spiritual counselor with religious views that are vastly different from your own can also be consulted if this is desired. When is it appropriate for a non-religious individual to pursue this type of therapy? Spiritual therapy can be used to assist those who are unclear whether or not they are spiritual or religious in their beliefs and practices.

Also bear in mind that, as long as your spiritual counselor is also a registered health practitioner, they are subject to the same ethical requirements that any other certified health professional is subject to.

More about the ethics of spiritual therapy may be found further down the page.

What are the main differences?

What is the Difference Between Spiritual Counseling and Psychotherapy?

There is a significant distinction between psychotherapy and religion in that psychotherapy avoids discussing religious subjects. For example, from a conventional psychoanalytic perspective, it is frowned upon to discuss religion with a client or for the therapist to divulge their own spiritual persuasions to the client (or other personal information, for that matter). According to spiritual counselors, on the other hand, the explicit discussion of religious subjects is a critical component of the therapeutic process.

What is Pastoral Counseling?

Pastor is a biblical phrase that refers to a shepherd, who is someone who has been entrusted with the abilities and responsibility of guiding and protecting others. Pastoral therapy and spiritual counseling are the same thing when it comes to their core and practice. However, in order to be registered as a professional pastoral counselor, one must complete a specialized accreditation program and pass a certification exam. Pastoral counselors are usually sectarian — that is, they adhere to a certain faith or denomination – in their practice.

Theological training is also obtained by pastoral counselors, who are also trained in the provision of mental health services.

What Happens in a Spiritual Counseling Session?

As a biblical allusion, the term pastor refers to a shepherd, someone with the abilities and responsibilities to lead and protect others around him or her. Pastoral therapy and spiritual counseling are identical in their core and practice. However, in order to be registered as a professional pastoral counselor, one must complete a specialized certification program and pass a test. Often, pastoral counselors identify as sectarian — that is, as members of a particular faith or denomination. Religious leaders such as priests, rabbis, and imams may be called upon in such situations.

Theological training is also obtained by pastoral counselors, who are also trained in the delivery of mental health treatment. Pastoral counselors nowadays, on the other hand, may be non-denominational, which means that they do not subscribe to any one particular religion or denominational group.

Techniques Used in Spiritual Counseling

Counselors who are affiliated with a particular denomination (or sect) may include specific religious traditions into their sessions. For example, if you and your counselor are both Christians, prayer may play an essential role in your treatment. This type of counseling may also emphasize the need of practicing forgiveness or referring to the wisdom found in the scriptures. In contrast, non-denominational counselors may draw on spiritual practices such as meditation, connecting with nature, or yoga to help clients cope with life’s difficulties.

Does Spiritual Counseling Work?

Individual religious practices may be included in treatment by counselors who belong to a particular denomination (or sect). For example, if you and your counselor are both Christians, prayer may be a significant aspect of your treatment. Practicing forgiveness or referring to the wisdom of scriptures may also be part of the focus of this type of counseling. In contrast, non-denominational counselors may draw on spiritual practices such as meditation, connecting with nature, or yoga to help clients cope with life’s challenges.

What Kinds of Concerns is Spiritual Counseling Best For?

A variety of problems and issues can be dealt with more effectively through spiritual therapy. People who suffer from depression and anxiety symptoms, according to research, have had better outcomes as a result of their treatment. Spiritual therapy may also be beneficial for persons who are dealing with schizophrenia, physical concerns, or a difficult time. Finally, spiritual therapy might be beneficial in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. The 12-step (or AA) method for treating alcoholism and other addictions is based on religious beliefs, as is the case with many other recovery programs.

When you believe that you have grown spiritually detached or when you are unclear about the role that religion should play in your life, it may be beneficial to seek professional help.

How Are Spiritual Counseling Specialists Trained?

Spiritual counseling is an extra expertise that can be pursued as a registered psychologist, counselor, social worker, nurse, or other healthcare professional with the appropriate credentials. For those interested in spiritual counseling, the American Institute of Health Care Professionals provides a certification program. Participants in this program must have completed 320 hours of instruction in spiritual counseling before they can be certified; after that, they must continue their education in order to maintain their licensure.

How to Find a Therapist

An internet search should be able to point you in the direction of a certified spiritual counselor in your area. Alternatively, you may ask friends, relatives, or members of your spiritual community for referrals — word of mouth is frequently the most effective method to discover a professional counselor.

It’s possible that your doctor (or another health expert) will be able to guide you in the proper direction or possibly aid you with a referral as well. If you are religiously affiliated, you should consult with your Imam, Priest, or Rabbi to determine the appropriate course of action for you.

What Should I be Looking for in a Spiritual Counselor?

A qualified health professional, in addition to their religious ties, should be sought out if your spiritual counselor is seeking treatment. This will guarantee that they practice in an ethical manner and that your requirements are given first priority throughout treatment. While the majority of individuals seek out a counselor who holds similar religious beliefs to their own, this is not necessarily required. Finally, look for a therapist with whom you feel comfortable sharing your feelings – the greater the bond that develops between you and your therapist, the more likely it is that you will experience beneficial outcomes.

Questions to Ask a Potential Spiritual Counselor

  • Identify the professional organizations with which you are affiliated. Are you a spiritual counselor who has had formal training? Are you qualified to practice as a mental health professional? In terms of religion, what are your beliefs? Does it make a difference if we hold different spiritual beliefs? Which of the following best describes you: denominational or non-denominational? What role may spiritual therapy have in my life
  • In what time frame will the treatment last
  • What are your rates
  • Will my health insurance pay the cost of the sessions? If we meet, when will we meet, and how often will we meet?

Find a Spiritual Counselor Now

While spiritual therapy is becoming increasingly popular, not all therapists include religion into their work, and you may have difficulty finding someone in your area who does. Fortunately, technology advancements over the past several years have resulted in an increase in the number of licensed therapists who are now working online. This implies that you now have access to a far larger pool of counselors and are therefore more likely to locate the most suitable one for your requirements. Thrive Talk is an online mental health platform that enables people to receive counseling from the comfort of their own homes, without having to leave their houses.

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Many members of the Thrive Talk team have previous counseling expertise and are familiar with spiritual counseling techniques and methods.

Concerns/Limitations of Spiritual Counseling

What are some of the difficulties that might occur when providing spiritual counseling? Spiritual counseling, like any other type of treatment, has the potential to be conducted unethically. Consider the possibility that your priest, whom you have known for many years, may suddenly become your therapist. The reason for this is related to a principle known as dual relationships, which states that a therapist should not treat a client who they have previously treated in another environment since doing so might have a detrimental impact on the therapy’s outcomes.

As a qualified health practitioner, a spiritual counselor may also encounter an ethical quandary when there is a contradiction between one’s spiritual/religious duties and one’s professional obligations as a certified spiritual counselor.

Finding a Deeper Sense of Meaning Through Spiritual Counseling

Religion and therapy have not always been the greatest of friends throughout history. Religion, according to Freud, indicated a neurotic propensity that needed to be addressed. For most of the twentieth century, behavioral psychologists made an explicit effort to separate psychology from religion in order to retain psychology as a scientific discipline. Thus, it is rather remarkable that spiritual therapy has gained such widespread popularity during the past few years. On the other hand, is it really that shocking that this has happened?

According to data from the Pew Research Center, roughly nine out of ten individuals in the United States adhere to some type of religious or spiritual beliefs.

Spiritual counseling is one such adaptation.

This essay has discussed the fundamentals of spiritual therapy that you should be aware of before getting started. Through spiritual therapy, you are now able to take steps toward a greater sense of meaning in your life – as well as improved mental health – in your current situation.

The Role of Spiritual Care in Hospice

The deadline is January 30th, 2020. Spiritual care is one of the services that we give to patients who desire it at Hope Hospice. Patients and families from many walks of life and cultures come to us for care. In addition to the diversity of religious traditions, there is a spectrum of spiritual connections that range from strong to more flexible, as well as individuals who do not have any transcendent beliefs. We requested Reverend Melissa Tumaneng, one of our Spiritual Care Counselors, to clarify some of the differences between the words religion and spirituality, as well as the function of spiritual care in hospice, and she graciously obliged.

What is religion versus spirituality, and are they connected?

Since the beginning of time, people have piqued the interest of scholars and scientists. We are driven by a need to understand ourselves and our role in the world. At times, particularly at the end of life, we ponder more general issues such as: Why am I alive? What do you want others to remember about me? What causes individuals to suffer? What is the significance and purpose of one’s existence? Religion and spirituality are tough ideas to define in a single sentence since they are so broad and complicated.

As a result, it is best not to concentrate on a single component of religion or spirituality.


In the past, religion was used to refer to all elements of a person’s relationship with the Divine or the transcendent, i.e., anything that is larger than themselves. Religion, according to contemporary scholarship, is defined as the activities or way of life. The beliefs and ways of thinking of different religions might differ from one another. Religions can have distinct habits, practices, or qualities, as well as distinct beliefs and ways of thinking. There might be a variety of goals, interests, commitments, and ambitions to pursue.

  1. Some religious traditions stress transcendence (beyond the physical world), while others emphasize immanence (inside the physical world) (within the world).
  2. We all come across a transcendent aspect of life – something that takes us above our normal modes of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
  3. All of this is within our grasp if we understand the procedures, make informed decisions, and have the ability to attain our goals.
  4. This manifests itself in the form of life’s riddles and paradoxes from time to time.
  5. The way people see pain in the context of God will differ significantly.

Most religious people across the globe believe this latter transcendence, the one that beyond explanation, has a personal aspect since it is in our human freedom that we exercise varying levels of creativity, react differently, make different decisions and seek various aims.


When it comes to a relationship with the holy or with that which is beyond us, spirituality may be described as the experienced and personal part of such interaction. People who practice religion, as well as theologians, may not always distinguish between religion and spirituality in a straightforward manner. Spirituality may be experienced as the living reality of religion by those who adhere to their own religions. Spirituality can contain a variety of topics, including: a source of ultimate meaning or purpose that exists outside of one’s own self; a method of interpreting one’s own existence and one’s place in the world; inner awareness; and individual integration.

We are spiritual creatures, and all we are and everything we do are intertwined.

Spirituality, in its ideal form, has the potential to have a transforming influence on our lives and relationships when it takes us beyond our ordinary everyday experience.

Are religion and spirituality connected?

SBNR (spiritual but not religious) is a word that has just been used to characterize a growing number of people throughout the world. Some people react with “spiritual and religious.” Others respond with “other.” We need to figure out how to make sense of these two themes, which are in reality different yet linked. One method is that religion may be used in conjunction with spirituality, or vice versa, in some cases. Yet another approach is to think of spirituality as a larger construct in which the quality of sacredness is experienced through religious practices or other ways of engaging with the Divine.

What is the role of the Spiritual Care Counselor?

Licensed Professional Spiritual Care Counselors (SCCs) at Hope Hospice have completed at least one year of hospital residency in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and have been ordained by and are answerable to an established ordaining body. SCCs have studied a variety of faiths, civilizations, and spiritual practices as part of their educational experience. In order to provide a ministry of presence to patients and their families towards the end of life, the SCCs are educated to meet them where they are in their spiritual journey.

Sometimes the answer consists of a religious ceremony or prayer that is appropriate for the situation.

In certain cases, it is neither spiritual nor religious in nature.

Muscle strength and activity are maintained by a professional athlete in collaboration with an athletic coach.

For more reading, see Nelson, James M. (2009), Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality (Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality). Springer Publishing Company, New York, NY.

About the Author

Rev. Melissa Tumaneng, MBA, MDIV, BCC, is an active member of the Association of Professional Chaplains and is a Board Certified Chaplain with the organization. She was ordained by the United Church of Christ and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Northern California Nevada Conference. WHAT EXACTLY IS HOSPICE?

Spirituality Therapy

In terms of total mental health and life satisfaction, spiritual wellbeing plays a significant role. Although spirituality is associated with religion for some, spirituality may manifest itself in a variety of ways. In general, spirituality is characterized by a sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself. Moreover, while spirituality and therapy are not commonly associated with one another, the distance between the two has been closing steadily in recent years. This is most likely due to the fact that therapists have begun to recognize the importance of spiritual efforts in improving mental health and in helping individuals to become whole.

Spirituality therapy is still in its early stages and is not recognized in the majority of states.

It simply implies that the state does not control the methods of spirituality therapists or the certification criteria for those who work in this field.

In recent years, it has gained in popularity, and attempts are being made to get it formally recognized by the different professional organizations in the field.

Methods Typically Used in Spiritual Therapy

Psychotherapy, usually known as “talk therapy,” is a broad term that encompasses spiritual treatment as well as other types of counseling. The following are examples of spirituality treatment methods that are often used:

  • People may “open the door” to their subconscious minds through hypnosis, which can help them connect the dots between body, mind, and soul as well as obtain a more in-depth understanding of themselves. Individuals can be brought into a state of concentrated concentration, diminished peripheral awareness, and greater capacity to respond to suggestions through the use of hypnosis. Meditation– Meditation may be performed in a number of ways and with a range of approaches, depending on the individual. Mindfulness (the practice of fostering a heightened awareness of the present moment) is a feature shared by practically all kinds of meditation. A client’s beliefs on the meaning of life, their special purpose in life, death, the afterlife, and other topics are explored through existential questioning.

The fact that it is not a regulated kind of therapy in the majority of states does imply that there may be substantial variation in the procedures utilized, with little data to support the claims made about their effectiveness. Often, the emphasis is on discovering one’s own deepest and most secret aspects of one’s own personality.

Reasons for Hiring a Spiritual Therapist

When individuals have questions or worries about their spirituality, religion, higher power, or anything else, they frequently turn to their religious leaders for guidance. However, some people (for a number of reasons) do not, and as a result, they do not know where to turn for assistance. Unlike many religious leaders, a spirituality therapist places a greater emphasis on getting to know the client and developing a therapeutic connection with him or her rather than on providing services (through trust and empathetic listening).

They can aid a client in regaining a sense of equilibrium in their lives and reconnecting with their higher power (whether that be God, the Universe, nature, etc.).

This is something that many individuals experience following the death of a loved one and the ensuing sadness.

Another group may be seeking to reconcile differences inside their religious system, while another may be seeking to address difficulties that have arisen as a result of their religious upbringing (religious trauma).

Spirituality therapy may assist people in re-connecting with their lives, re-establishing (or establishing for the first time) meaning and purpose in their lives, affirming and actualizing their existence, and generally being at peace with themselves and their surroundings.

What to Look for in a Spiritual Therapist

When seeking for a spiritual therapist, it is preferable to choose someone who has received formal training and certification (if you are in a state that recognizes spiritual therapy). Because spirituality therapy is not officially recognized in your state, it may be necessary to speak with a number of counselors and enquire about their expertise and background in relation to dealing with clients who are interested in spirituality and their religious practices. In many states that have not yet recognized spirituality therapy as a legitimate practice, therapists who specialize in spirituality are more likely to describe themselves as some form of life coach than as a therapist.

  1. While it is possible that you will come across some spirituality life coaches who are not certified, this does not imply that all of them are.
  2. You may need to seek counseling and treatment from religious professionals in your specific faith if you cannot locate a therapist who specializes in spirituality in your area of residence.
  3. Counseling for sorrow is an exception to this rule.
  4. Keep in mind that there is still a great deal of controversy about whether spirituality therapists are real practitioners.


The authors (Dein, S., Cook, C., Powell, A., and Eagger, S.) (2010). Religion, spirituality, and mental health are all intertwined. The Psychiatrist is a professional who specializes in mental illness. Kersting, K., et al (2003). In the therapy room, there is a place for religion and spirituality. Monitor on Psychology, volume 34, number 11, pages 40-40. A. Savage, ed (2001). An observation in response to Erik Mansager’s paper, Adlerian Psychology and Spirituality in Critical Collaboration: A Critical Collaboration.

The AdlerianSociety of the United Kingdom is based in London.

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