Psychotherapy and Spirituality: Integrating the Spiritual Dimension into Therapeutic Practice

Psychotherapy and Spirituality: Integrating the Spiritual Dimension into Therapeutic Practice

Psychotherapy and Spirituality: Integrating the Spiritual Dimension into Therapeutic Practice

Psychotherapy and Spirituality: Integrating the Spiritual Dimension into Therapeutic Practice

Synopsis

This detailed study of the interface between psychotherapy and spirituality introduces professionally trained psychotherapists and mental health specialists to the subject of spirituality and the influence it may have in a therapeutic context.

Excerpt

A woman in therapy is convinced that the death of her child is God's punishment for her
sin of adultery… In a therapy group, a priest expresses his joy at his impending
death… At the intake procedure, a religious patient expresses his fear that his faith will
be 'explained away' in psychotherapy.

The purpose of writing this book is to introduce professionally trained psychotherapists and mental health counsellors to the subject of spirituality and the influence it has – for better or worse – on therapeutic progress. It introduces this notoriously complex field in a way that is adapted to the needs of therapists who have to deal with the entanglement of psychological and spiritual problems. The book is about 'ordinary' spirituality, that is to say, the phenomena that are inherent in the change processes of spiritual awakening and a subsequent spiritual development. Nearly everybody who discovers his own spiritual longing and chooses to re-orient his life accordingly – patients and their therapists being no exception – is likely to be confronted with these phenomena and challenges. In this book the focus is in particular on the ways in which patients and therapists respond to spirituality in a therapeutic setting.Itis not about extreme phenomena such as for example the hyper-religiosity of many psychotic patients. There is already much literature available on that subject. It is addressed primarily to psychotherapists and mental health counsellors practising in general mental health residential units and day-to-day consultation clinics. The book presupposes no religious background of its readers, nor anything more than a general knowledge of religious beliefs, disciplines and modes of spiritual development. Experience suggests, however, that the material presented can also be useful for religious therapists, pastoral psychotherapists, pastoral counsellors and the clergy.

The motivation in writing this book is that in many discussions my non-religious (secular-oriented) colleagues indicated that they felt uncomfortable whenever their patients raised spiritual concerns. Coming from an agnostic or atheistic family background, often even third or fourth generation, they expressed the need for information that could help them understand what . . .

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