Consider this...you sitting in the waiting room of your new counselor's office, awaiting your turn to share your story with this therapist who will attend to your every thought and emotion. You begin sharing about your current struggles only to discover the therapist you've chosen cannot relate to your situation. You begin to feel unsure of yourself, rethinking your choice to seek counseling. Next, you begin wondering if counseling is the answer for the spiritual issues you're seeking guidance with. Who do you seek out for this type of advice/wisdom? Are only Christian counselors or pastors viable options for managing spiritually driven issues? I don't believe so, which I will further outline below.
My first thought about this matter is why is there such a divide between spirituality and therapy? Who decided to let spirituality fall by the wayside? The majority of our society, at one point, depended on religions to maintain social stability. Therefore, dismissing the integral nature of spirituality/religion is indeed damaging to individuals and our communities. This is due to spirituality's historical depth and foundational function within human survival and existence. To those that believe spirituality is useless or fake at best, you should reconsider how spirituality has tremendously positive effects on those who practice it.
This post is in no way intended to promote a specific form of spirituality/religion, but rather, my intention is to remind us how spirituality plays a pivotal role in developing individuals and groups. Spirituality offers hope, meaning, and purpose, which increases motivation and positive feelings in people. Clinicians must take the time to gain a full-orbed understanding of a variety of spiritual/religious practices in order to avoid dismissing essential underlying information about their clients' spiritual history. Without this history, clinicians will potentially miss valid reasons for their clients' current pathology, lack of motivation, etc. Furthermore, therapists may make fundamental mistakes when they are unaware of their own biases about spirituality/religion. Therefore, it is imperative for clinicians to be self-aware of their spirituality/religious nature in order to more effectively support their clients. Ultimately, we should reconsider our views on spirituality and religion and determine how and why they should fit within our personal and social framework.