“Exploring someone’s spiritual beliefs and practices can therefore be an important part of the mental health assessment and healing process. A mental health therapist can be extremely effective in helping the person explore the struggle and arrive at a place of feeling empowered in having gained a deeper inner personal knowing.”
She said therapists need to differentiate between religion and spirituality, and recognize differences in beliefs.
“Exploring spirituality with a client can help them feel more grounded and connected, can give them a greater sense of love, trust, hope and belonging,” Simington said.
Tina Tessina, a licensed psychotherapist and author of the new book “LoveStyles: How to Celebrate Your Differences,” suggests in an email that spirituality is a common part of therapy.
“People who come for therapy are often in crisis, and crisis is when we
turn to spiritual focus,” Tessina said. “Therapists should be comfortable with
spirituality, and be able to speak in the terms of whatever spiritual
practice their clients use.”
She said therapists need to be open to all beliefs, but also know how to address harmful beliefs of the client. Also, spirituality shouldn’t be brought up unless the patient talks about it or the conversation heads in that direction.
“It's very negative when a therapist has a rigid spiritual point of view and
tries to impose that on clients,” Tessina said. “It's positive when a therapist is
accepting of many points of view and can support the client in his or her
Have you noticed that spirituality affects your mental health, and if you’ve gone to therapy has spirituality been an important part of that experience?
Ohio State University Student Wellness Center. Spirituality. Web. Feb. 6, 2012. http://swc.osu.edu/about-us/spirituality
University of Maryland Medical Center. Spirituality. Web. Feb. 6, 2012. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/spirituality-000360.htm
Rosenquist, Sara. Email interview. Feb. 6, 2012.
Taking Flight International Corporation. Web. Feb. 7, 2012. http://takingflightinternational.com
Simington, Jane. Email interview. Feb. 6, 2012.