Our spiritual beliefs and values infuse our everyday life because they offer us a framework within which we see ourselves, as well as the choices we make. No spirituality on Earth assumes that a person follows each tenet perfectly; in fact, all spiritual beliefs leave room for grace and understanding when the complicated nature of life makes it difficult to navigate ahead. However, sometimes a spiritual relationship with God or others can be experienced as a place of confusion or pain when in the depths of psychological or emotional distress, and such distress can likewise lead people to question or struggle with their relationship with the divine. When in pain we often need to lament, and at times these laments are directed at the divine. Therapists trained in spiritually-based counseling can help you examine how your relationship with the divine is impacted by your pain, and help weave such laments into your life story in a way that does not leave you struggling with guilt.
A relationship with the divine can be one of the most profound experiences of life. Each person may view this relationship, or come to it, in their own way. Such a relationship can offer a healing, peaceful feeling of transcending many of the day-to-day snags that get in the way of us seeing the bigger picture. These moments of spiritual connection can help us heal our relationship in ways that relationship counseling cannot.
These moments also give people a sense of cohesiveness, contentment, and narrative – a lens through which life is viewed. All of these things can have profoundly positive impacts on our well-being. As important as psychology and therapy have been to many people, it is not well known that your therapist can welcome your spiritual side as part of the therapeutic journey. If spirituality is an integral part of your life, working with a therapist who will include your spiritual and religious beliefs in the therapy room will help your therapy process be successful and will offer you a compassionate presence in your unfolding search for meaning and wholeness.
Spiritually-based counseling can refer to many things, but in the world of clinical psychology, it refers to a type of therapy and therapist where there is an openness to allowing a person’s unique spiritual views to be a vital part of the therapy process. It is different from pastoral counseling because your therapist does not necessarily require spirituality to be the primary focus of the work. A spiritually-open therapist makes room for you to bring your spiritual or religious beliefs into therapy as you choose. A good spiritual therapist has expanded their psychological training by understanding and working with clients from many of the world’s spiritual traditions, and knows how these can relate to good mental health and personal development. Therapists trained in spiritually-based counseling are able to attend to your whole self-psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual.