INTEGRATING SPIRITUALITY WITH THERAPY
When someone new enters the counseling office, they bring their own expectations of what counseling will be like. Maybe they’ve gotten their information from friends or family, or perhaps television shows like “Frasier” or movies such as “What About Bob.”
While some of the sources provide an accurate perspective, others may just provide a laugh or two; certainly not necessarily the best way to start out a new endeavor. When a new client asks for ‘spiritual’ or ‘Biblical’ counseling, some initial information is necessary to begin.
The first place to start when a person asks for “Christian” counseling, is to determine what they mean. Some are looking for a Biblical process, with Scripture backing the changes. For others, they are looking for help that does not violate their morals or values. Still others, who may not identify as spiritual or Christian, ask for a Christian stance, stating that they know that the therapist will be a “good” person. With expectations out in the open, the counselor can tailor the therapy to fit the person. Therapy is not a ‘one size fits all’ thing, especially when spirituality is a part of the process.
Spirituality, in whatever form people adhere to, is a means to make sense of our world. It gives a structure on which to build our values and beliefs. Having a belief in something outside of ourselves can also give purpose to life, something to look forward to – something to give us hope. It allows us to become genuine individuals, living as fully as possible.
What we know is that spirituality and religion are core sources of strength for many clients. They form the foundation from which individuals operate, and when applied to healing and changing, spirituality can add another dimension. More and more evidence is showing that spirituality promotes both physical and psychological well-being. Good health focuses on body, mind, and spirit!
“Spirituality is less about ‘doing’ and more about ‘being’ our truest, more authentic self wherever we go.” (Anthony Douglas Williams) This is also true of therapy, and what a better way to find your most authentic self than to bring spirituality into the counseling office.