Historically, mental health clinicians were trained to refer clients’ spiritual issues to pastoral professionals. However, the current requirement for competence with diverse cultural concerns in counseling and psychotherapy may include those of a religious nature. Using a nonsectarian approach that can complement a wide range of psychotherapeutic orientations, this practical guide helps therapists and counselors gain competence in working with clients who are dealing with spiritual issues in their lives.
Written by an experienced clinical psychologist who is also an ordained clergyman, the book describes how to work effectively and ethically with clients of all faiths who present spiritual questions, problems, and unfinished spiritual or religious business.
The book offers counselors and psychotherapists who lack experience or comfort in dealing with spiritual issues (especially those who have not worked out their own approaches to spirituality) ways of understanding the nature of spirituality. It orients clinicians to respectfully help clients who have spiritual and religious issues. It provides basic information about Western and Eastern spiritual worldviews and provides a basic framework for competently addressing spiritual issues for clients of any faith.
The book discusses four ways in which spirituality can inform psychotherapy, including spiritual work in the context of a therapeutic relationship, in the interpretation of experience, and in the movement to enactment. It addresses specific issues therapists may encounter such as clients’ uncertainties in faith, struggles with oppressively rigid faith communities, grief and loss, and abuse at the hands of religious community leaders. Specific recommendations for providing therapeutic help as well as case examples drawn from actual practice provide practical guidelines for enhancing spiritual competency in psychotherapy.
- Provides practical guidelines for counseling clients about a variety of spiritual issues
- Includes approaches that can be incorporated into a wide range of psychotherapeutic modalities
- Helps clinicians to understand clients’ spiritual perspectives in order to suggest effective interventions
- Addresses specific spiritual or religious concerns that clients often make known, providing illustrative case examples
- Presents an open window through which the reader might gaze upon spiritual life so as to grasp its nature and more fully understand religious and spiritual people
About the Author
Philip Brownell, MDiv, PsyD, is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in North Carolina and Oregon and a Registered Psychologist in Bermuda. He is an ordained clergyman and writes a weekly column on integrative issues for The Royal Gazette, Bermuda’s largest daily newspaper. He is currently a staff psychologist at Benedict Associates, Ltd., where he offers a broad range of assessment and counseling services to child, adolescent, and adult populations, including individual, couple, family, and group therapy.
Read more about: Philip Brownell