Visions of Daniel

Workshop on Spiritual Issues in Counseling


Papers link






The Ethics of Treating Spiritual Issues in Secular Psychotherapy

Via alternating media-assisted lecture and large-group and small-group discussions, this workshop will examine the implications of counselors’ responsibility to respect a client’s religious or spiritual commitments and, perhaps, even to utilize them for therapeutic purposes. The presentation will review the requirements of professional codes of ethics and specifically address counselor-competences, informed consent, imposition of values, and work-setting boundaries; will consider the American Counseling Association’s guidelines for integrating spirituality into counseling; will focus the challenge that diversity in beliefs and ethics poses in a psychotherapeutic context; will clarify the difference between religion and spirituality; will highlight the difference between pastoral and secular counseling; will propose therapeutic strategies for addressing spiritual issues: validation, reinterpretation, and “confrontation”; and will legitimate spirituality as a psychological concern apart from religion and theist belief. An overriding goal will be to create a safe space in which counselors can address the questions of meaning and value that are central to both religion and psychotherapy. The further purpose of the workshop will be to equip counselors with a theoretical perspective and potential therapeutic tools so that counselors will be able to engage spiritual issues while respecting religious boundaries and fostering psychological health.

Presented as follows: Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia, 17 th Annual Convention, Peachtree City, GA, May 8, 2005. MountainView Hospital, Gadsden, AL, January 28,2005