Assessing Competencies for Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Counselling

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Plumb, Alison
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This is a quantitative study using a self-administered survey as its methodology. The purpose of this study is to gain insight into how practicing therapists view the place and limits of religion and spirituality in therapeutic work. The main areas that were explored included: counsellor spiritual and religious identity and practice; counsellor beliefs about the importance of spirituality for mental, physical, and community health; and, counsellor beliefs and practices regarding the appropriateness of addressing spirituality and religion within the context of therapy. Other areas that were explored included counsellors' identifying their education and training in this realm, and perceived abilities regarding comfort and competence when working with religious and/or spiritual clientele. Three hundred and forty-one members of the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors participated in this study. The results showed that the participants believe that spirituality, but not necessarily religion, are important dimensions in their lives and in their work with clients. The results also showed that although participants indicated that they support specific interventions, less than half indicated that they are using these interventions in their practice. What is needed is more research on this subject, specifically in the area of determining or understanding why counsellors are not feeling comfortable, confident, or competent regarding introducing or initiating a conversation on the dimensions of religion and spirituality in the counselling process.
religion and therapy, spirituality and therapy, counseling and spirituality
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