Over the years, counseling psychology has evolved, and the focus on cultural competency and ethics is increasing. The traditional techniques of psychotherapy are based on cognitive and behavioral adjustment (APA, 2015). While the methods were possible, clinicians overlooked the element of faith in therapy due to the lack of a better way to incorporate spirituality into counseling. Owing to the discrepancies in religious structures and the issues around the subject of faith, therapists are hesitant to incorporate spirituality in the counseling approach. Studies have proven, though, that integrating faith into treatment can be effective in helping people heal. The issue of spirituality has gained a lot of therapeutic values, and counselors see the need to incorporate the issue of religion to counseling. As noted most, people are religious, and this means that it is an area that has the potential to change believe of individuals (Barlow & Durand, 2015). It holds that people who have religious believers and spirituality have the ability to influence positive social relationships within the society and the community. Counselors are recognizing the role of spirituality in transforming and changing the life of the patients. Religion has been associated with the positive energy that can be helpful in adapting to stress (Barlow & Durand, 2015). Individuals with greater control of their spirituality are more psychologically stable compared to individuals who do not get any form of spiritual support. Spiritual resources have the ability to act as supportive factors that can improve self-identity. Religious interventions can help tackle stress and psychological distress in patients.
Evidence shows that different coping resources that can help in assisting counseling patients but prayer, believe and faith have shown a significant success. Religiosity is a health resource that is important in helping people from a low-income background in coping with the stress of not having access to basic necessities (Barlow & Durand, 2015). Spiritualism is a source of comfort and strength to counseling patients facing difficult situations. It is evident that spiritual identity can provide a good source of social support framework that can be helpful in assisting patients fell complete. As counselors, assisting patients to realize the self-identity and improve realize the inner strength to cope with stress (Adrain & Wong, 2014). It is clear that moral values can be helpful in instituting believe and spirituality which build resiliency among the patients. Integrating spirituality in the healing process of patients requires an understanding of the individual religious practices.
Spiritual belief and practices are necessary for facilitating physical and mental health, and it is evident that spiritual people were less likely to suffer from mental illnesses. Therapeutic healing process based on spirituality is not based on the rigid believe on sin and guilt, but it should be focused on building hope and optimism. Counselors need to discourage the strict believe in sin because this can intensify the mental illnesses and depression (APA, 2015). However, it is necessary for the counselor to avoid the hallucinations and delusions that come with strict belief. Spirituality can play a supportive role in influencing the health of the patients.
Counselors need to encourage patients to bring up their religious and spiritual beliefs during the counseling process. It is important because this can help the patients to open up to the therapists (Barlow & Durand, 2015). Given the centrality of spirituality within the society, it is necessary that religious support should be incorporated into the counseling models. The current training and practice need to take care of all the aspects of spirituality (Adrain & Wong, 2014). As currently constituted the counseling approach presents a number of barriers that limit the clients from freely expressing their faith and believes. The counselors that breakdown the barriers by talking about their religious experiences and spiritual beliefs as it can help in coercing the patients to share beliefs and frustrations.
According to recent studies, it is evident that people are finding it hard and difficult to discuss their religious beliefs openly for fear of criticism (Barlow & Durand, 2015). The patient’s opinions about spirituality differ significantly, and among some counseling patients, the influence is positive while for others the influence is negative. In some cases, it is possible that the religious frustration can lead to bias which can limit the ability of the counselor to offer treatment to a religious student (Barlow & Durand, 2015). Similarly, an over-religious counselor might find it hard to counsel a non-religious client. It is necessary for the counselor to consider all the risks associated with integrating spirituality in counseling.
It is necessary to consider integrating religion and spirituality into the counseling process. Many counselors have not integrated the issue of religion and believe because of the uncertainty and risks involved. It is necessary for counselors to consider the different benefits of using spirituality in counseling. Understanding the benefits of spirituality in counseling can help bring about positive outcomes.
Adrain, T., & Wong, P. (2014). The existential and spiritual issue in death attitude. New York: Psychology press.
APA. (2015). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with the major depressive disorder. American psychiatric Association .
Barlow, D., & Durand, M. (2015). Abnormal psychology: An integrative approach. Conn: Cengage Learning.