Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Using Spiritual Disciplines in Clinical Supervision

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Using Spiritual Disciplines in Clinical Supervision

Article excerpt

The literature on spirituality and religion in clinical supervision is limited compared to the growing literature in recent years on spirituality and religion in psychotherapy. This article focuses specifically on using spiritual disciplines including prayer and Scripture study and discussion in clinical supervision. Implicit and explicit integration in psychotherapy and the parallel process of implicit and explicit integration in clinical supervision are described. A hypothetical verbatim transcript of the use of prayer and Scripture study and discussion as examples of spiritual disciplines in clinical supervision is also provided.

The literature on spirituality and religion in psychotherapy has grown substantially in recent years, including several books on Christian counseling or therapy (e.g., Collins, 2007; Malony & Augsburger, 2007; McMinn & Campbell, 2007), but the literature on spirituality and religion in clinical supervision, in comparison, is still limited (e.g., see Aten & Hernandez, 2004; Bernard & Goodyear, 2004; Bishop, Avila-Juarbe, & Thumme, 2003; Frame, 2001; Miller, Korinek, & Ivey, 2000; Polanski, 2003). The need for more systematic education (including coursework) and supervision in spirituality and religion in the context of clinical practice has been emphasized (e.g., see Brawer, Handel, Fabricatore, Roberts, & Wajda-Johnston, 2002; Hage, 2000). Interestingly enough, while the literature on spirituality and religion in clinical supervision is limited, spirituality and religion are most likely to be addressed in clinical supervision, in the training of psychologists, but not necessarily in a systematic or coherent way (Brawer, et al., 2002; Hage, 2000).

Specifically, the literature on Christian spirituality and clinical supervision of therapists has been particularly sparse, and this special issue of the Journal of Psychology and Christianity (JPC) focusing on this topic is therefore most welcome. It will help advance the development of this area of clinical supervision and Christian spirituality (see also Holeman, 2002).

In a recent text on clinical supervision using a competency-based approach, Falender and Shafranske (2004) emphasized the need to pay direct attention to spirituality and religion as a crucial part of building diversity competence in supervision (see also Falender & Shafranske, 2007). The importance of developing multicultural or diversity competence in supervision has been stressed in the recent literature on clinical supervision (e.g., see Allen, 2007; Ancis & Ladany, 2001; Iwamasa, Pai, & Sorocco, 2000; Lopez, 1997).

Aten and Hernandez (2004) have described a helpful model for addressing religion or spirituality in clinical supervision. Following the Integrative Developmental Model (IDM) of clinical supervision and its eight domains (Prieto & Stoltenberg, 1997; Stoltenberg & Delworth, 1987), Aten and Hernandez proposed the following list of specific supervisor actions that can help supervisees or therapists to work more effectively with religious clients and religious or spiritual issues:

1. Intervention Skills: Supervisors introduce supervisees to religious and spiritual interventions (p.154).

2. Assessment Approaches and Techniques: Supervisors prepare supervisees to assess religion in clinical practice (p. 155).

3. Individual and Cultural Differences: Supervisors help supervisees approach religious issues and clients with multicultural sensitivity (p. 155).

4. Interpersonal Assessment: Supervisors facilitate supervisees' understanding of how they influence the assessment of religious issues and clients (p. 150).

5. Theoretical Orientation: Supervisors encourage supervisees to know what their chosen theoretical orientation assumes and teaches about religion (p. 156).

6. Problem Conceptualization: Supervisors promote case conceptualizations that include religious issues and themes (p. …

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