Integration Of Spirituality In Counseling

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The incorporation of spirituality as a counseling intervention has increasingly been recognized as important. At one time spirituality and psychology were considered incompatible. However, the number of studies evaluating the links between religion, spirituality and positive therapy outcomes is increasing. Secular mental health providers still do not consider prayer or spirituality to be important to the counseling process, yet will sometimes incorporate it into the treatment plans of those that consider religion important. While the recognition of spirituality and prayer has increased there are often ethical considerations for its use. Two particular ethical concerns are the use of in-session prayer and the ability of secular counselors …show more content…
The American Counseling Association Code of ethics requires that counselors avoid doing anything that may harm their clients and must always have the welfare of their clients as a foremost consideration (Weld & Ericksen, 2007). Incorporation of spirituality into a client’s treatment can be as harmful as it can be beneficial if the therapist fails to account for spiritual development and whether the client’s religious beliefs are normal or harmful. Another consideration would be whether the therapist’s beliefs are compatible with the client’s, even if they belong to the same denomination. The provider must ensure that there is no transference or countertransference that may negatively affect rapport and must remain neutral in the face of conflicting beliefs unless the client’s beliefs may be harmful to themselves or …show more content…
While research shows that this integration can lead to more positive outcomes for patients who consider their faith important, it can also be detrimental if the counselor does not take several different aspects into account. Prior to reading the article, I primarily thought that you integrated prayer and spirituality for the religious who desired its inclusion, and did not for those who do not consider it important. I now understand better the implications of improper integration and the ways that it could potentially be harmful. Carlson et al. (2002) as referenced by Weld and Ericksen (2007) state that: “only 68% believed that it was appropriate for therapists to ask clients about their spirituality…” Could asking a client about their spirituality negatively impact a therapist’s attempt to build rapport? If that is a possibility, then would it be better to allow the client to bring up spirituality and religion? Allowing the client to address the topic during the initial assessment without specific prompts or questions from the provider seems as if it could lead to a more honest discussion. Specific questions from the therapist could lead a client to answer how they believe the therapists wants them to answer, rather than how they truly feel or believe. Spirituality is a topic where one must tread carefully. The concept that I will implement will be specific questions regarding the client’s

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