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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

Also, she added that what is more of a concern is the theology of a therapist. In fact, some patients seek therapists who share their beliefs in this area.

“For [therapists] who do not advertise themselves as being of a particular theological bent, then theology usually does not enter the discussion of the session unless the patient brings it up,” Rosenquist said. “It is possible for a therapist to help the patient sort through their own theology and ferret out the beliefs that lead to positive emotions and pro social actions without disclosing his or her own theology.”

In the end, positive religious beliefs and spirituality can both lead to mental health wellness.

“Research shows rather consistently that those who have a positive theology and positive spiritual practice do better (have better therapy outcomes, statistically better mental health on a variety of standard measures) than people who have a negative theology (i.e., a punishing God and a lot of fears about doing bad or getting it wrong),” Rosenquist said. “Similarly, people who have a spiritual practice that is positive and amounts to some kind of mindfulness practice do a lot better in therapy and in life.”

Jane Simington, a therapist and the owner of Taking Flight International Corporation and Taking Flight Books, said in an email that therapists should address emotional, physical, mental and spiritual aspects in therapy.

“By nature of being human all people have a spiritual dimension to their lives, and the spiritual dimension of our humanness has a pervasive influence on thought, behavior, and general health and well-being,” Simington said. “It is [well-known] that a crisis can drive us inward ... to struggle with the deeper questions of life and death, questions of meaning and purpose, the deep ‘why’ questions in life.”

She said people can struggle with deep mental health pain, called “soul pain.”

“Soul pain is the intense inner [pain] where a person struggles with the beliefs they once held and which no longer seem to be supporting them,” Simington said.

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.