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Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy: An Integrative Approach that Empowers Clients

ISBN: 978-1-118-14521-0
263 pages
March 2013
Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy: An Integrative Approach that Empowers Clients (1118145216) cover image

"Written with great clarity and intelligence, this book will be of benefit to all mental health practitioners, students of psychology, and those seeking a better understanding of their own process of psychological and spiritual transformation."
—Tara Brach, PhD, Author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge

"In this wonderful book, Rick Johnson weaves together different theoretical perspectives in a way that welcomes religion, spirituality, and nature into the counseling and psychotherapy process. It's a delight to read Dr. Johnson's approach—an approach that teaches therapists how to empathically explore spirituality as an important dimension of human existence."
—John Sommers-Flanagan, PhD, coauthor of Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice and Clinical Interviewing

"Rick Johnson's book Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy is a rich introduction to the varied forms in which spiritual suffering enters the consulting room, the range of theories which address or fail to address this need, and specific attitudes and practices through which therapists can provide a non-doctrinal but open encounter with the spiritual needs of their clients."
—James Hollis, PhD, Jungian analyst, and author of fourteen books, among them What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life

A practical integration of psychology and spirituality that builds upon existing psychological theories

While many clients want spiritual and philosophical issues to be addressed in therapy, many mental health professionals report that they feel ill-equipped to meet clients' needs in this area. Providing a model that is approachable from a variety of theoretical orientations, Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy supports therapists in becoming open to the unique ways that clients define, experience, and access life-affirming, spiritual beliefs and practices.

Drawing on the author's research into spiritual issues as well as predictors of clients' psychological health, this reflective book presents an integrative approach to discussing the topic of spirituality. An essential resource for mental health professionals of all spiritual and religious persuasions, Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy discusses:

  • Client-defined spirituality
  • Integrating spirituality with psychological theories
  • Why clients become spiritually lost
  • Practical steps for spiritual health and abundance in therapy
  • Helping clients reclaim their real self
  • How spiritually oriented therapy helps
  • Guidance for therapists in differentiating their spirituality from their clients' to foster a more successful therapeutic relationship

Filled with numerous cases and stories illustrating how spirituality can be a natural and beneficial part of the therapeutic process, Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy enables mental health professionals to nonjudgmentally invite a collaborative exploration of the role of spirituality in their clients' lives.

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Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xxi

About the Author xxiii

1 Spiritual Competencies and Premises 1

Central Premises 5

Spirituality and Religion 20

2 Client-Defined Spirituality 23

Remembering 28

External Presence and Inner Knowing 29

Transcendent and Ordinary Experiences 31

Present Moment Awareness 32

Interconnectedness 33

Love and Fear 35

Free Will 36

Creativity and Artistic Expression 38

Nature and Natural Beauty 39

Openheartedness 40

Personal Relationship 41

Thematic Integration 42

3 Integrating Spirituality With Psychological Theories 45

Freud 45

Jung 46

Object Relations and Attachment Theories 48

Interpersonal Theory: Horney 51

Humanism: Rogers 52

Control-Mastery Theory: Weiss 54

Internal Family Systems Theory: Schwartz 57

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Linehan 59

Transpersonal and Integral Theories 60

Life Span Development Th eories 62

Thematic Integration 65

4 Getting Lost: Psychological and Spiritual Perspectives 69

Why Clients Get Lost 71

A Spiritual Perspective 87

5 Spiritual Health and Abundance: Practical Steps 101

Being Open to Client-Defined Spirituality 101

Utilizing Spirituality for Resourcing 109

Inviting Spirituality to Inform Personal Integrity 111

Evaluating Life Structures 113

Remembering and Committing to Spiritual Practice 123

6 Integrating the Shadow 125

The Shadow 126

How Shadows Form 129

When Clients Marry Their Shadow 134

Integration 141

7 Self and No-Self 149

No-Self 150

An Integration of Self and No-Self 157

Helping Clients Reclaim Their Real Self 160

8 How Spiritually Oriented Therapy Helps 169

A Collaborative Team 172

Self-Awareness 174

Insight 179

Reexperiencing Relational Dynamics 181

New Relationship With the Real Self 184

Embracing Inner Health 187

Embracing Relationship Health 189

Utilizing Spiritually Oriented Th erapy 190

Final Thoughts 193

9 Spiritual-Differentiation 195

The Identity and Differentiation Process 196

Characteristics of Well-Differentiated Individuals 201

Increasing Differentiation 213

Increasing Therapist Spiritual-Differentiation 217

References 223

Author Index 245

Subject Index 249

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PATRICK "RICK" JOHNSON, PhD, is Department Chair of the Counselor Education Department at Portland State University. Previously, he was an assistant and associate professor at Montana State University. Dr. Johnson is also a licensed psychologist and maintains an active private practice. His research and scholarly agendas focus on the effects of family experiences on psychosocial development in adolescence and adulthood, as well as the integration of psychological and spiritual health.

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