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A Spiritual Connection: Psychotherapy, Spirituality and Mental Health

By HERWriter
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Mental Health related image Photo: Getty Images

Life is a continuous journey, and along the way many people learn more about themselves and try to solidify their identity, find happiness, peace and purpose.

Spirituality can be a small or significant part of the journey. It only makes sense that if spirituality is part of life, then spirituality would also be connected to psychology and psychotherapy.

Psychotherapists attempt to help people with their mental health issues and give them tools to function and thrive, so spirituality could be a part of this process as well. Experts share their opinions on how spirituality can connect with psychotherapy practice, or if it even has a place in therapy.

To be clear, spirituality is not always associated with religion. In fact, Ohio State University’s Student Wellness Center website states that “spirituality is not religion.”

Spirituality can mean a lot of different things depending on the person, according to the website. For example, one theme of spirituality is “the idea of a process or journey of self-discovery and of learning not only who you are, but who you want to be.”

Other themes are “the challenge of reaching beyond your current limits,” “a connectedness to yourself and to others,” “meaning, purpose and direction,” and “a higher power, whether rooted in a religion, nature or some kind of unknown essence.”

The University of Maryland Medical Center website also suggests there are many definitions to spirituality, including that “it’s the way you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life,” and it’s not always connected to religion.

Sara Rosenquist, a board certified clinical health psychologist, said in an email that being influenced by spirituality is unavoidable in a sense.

“We are all influenced by our values, beliefs, moods, family history, etc.,” Rosenquist said. “So whatever the therapist's spirituality is going to influence them to one degree of another.”

She said that there can be both positive and negative spiritualities present in psychotherapy practice depending on the situation. For example, if one’s spirituality focuses on punishment, guilt and fear, then the practice could be negatively impacted.

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Dear Rheyanne,

Just wanted to tell you that you are doing an amazing-job. Thank you so much for everthing. Pleaese keep up doing what you are doing because it clearly is working :)


October 22, 2013 - 5:00am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I couldn't agree more Rheyanne is doing a phenomenal job. I wish there were more people out there like her :)

October 27, 2013 - 5:18am

I totally agree with Jane Simington, the therapist and the owner of Taking Flight International Corporation and Taking Flight Books, when she says that therapists should address emotional, physical, mental and spiritual aspects in therapy. I feel like my soul is in such pain. Yet I have not found a counselor who can help me with this problem. This article is very informative on the outlook of what mental health counselors should be doing the help those of us in need.

February 9, 2012 - 12:05am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Tammyb58)

A most beautiful spiritual understanding being used in counseling is the simplicity of the works of Sydney Banks which is non- denominational... It is universal . His books and DVD's are such a gift. The therapists are called 3P's counsellors after The Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness andThought. I particularly like "The
Enlightened Gardener" and give this book to my clients at intake to read. Check out www.threeprinciplesmovies.com for more information. There are 3P's therapists all over the world.

June 5, 2012 - 6:59pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you very much for your response. I am researching to find a 3P's counsellors in my area. I just ordered "The
Enlightened Gardener" from Amazon, to check out.

June 19, 2012 - 3:09am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.