Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Theory and Technique
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"This book, through its well-referenced and critically thoughtful approach, has made an invaluable contribution to the counseling literature. The extensive use of case studies and other applied materials makes it a valuable . . . reference."
Dr. Thomas J. Russo, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, University of Wisconsin, River Falls

Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy presents an applied, insightful, and well-researched overview of the theory, practice, and ethics of integrating spiritual and religious themes and rituals into traditional therapy models. This well-conceived and immensely readable text examines common barriers and bridges between spirituality and mental health and documents the effectiveness of using spiritual practices and concepts in treatment. Most important, it encourages readers, through group activities and individual reflection, to consider their own spiritual belief systems and biases before engaging clients in therapy with a spiritual base.

Key features of this book include:

  • A synopsis of the major Eastern and Western religions and spiritual movements
  • Theoretical, cultural, and ethical implications of incorporating spirituality in counseling
  • Practical methods for helping clients develop a spiritual identity
  • Proven techniques for incorporating spiritual practices in treatment
  • Case studies providing complex, real-life scenarios, as well as questions and activities for individual and group discussion

A practical book for students and a valuable resource for counselors, psychologists, social workers, addiction specialists, and other mental health professionals, Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and Psychotherapy offers expert guidance on how to handle issues of spirituality in furthering the therapeutic process.


GERI MILLER, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She is also the author of Learning the Language of Addiction Counseling.


Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Chapter Objectives 1

Spirituality in the Context of Counseling 1

Creation of a Sacred Place 6

Encouragement of Self-Care 9

Encouragement of Spiritual Practice 11

Case Studies 17

Exercises 18

Suggested Readings 19

Chapter 2 Historical Development 21

Chapter Objectives 21

Separateness and Integration 21

Barriers between Spirituality/Religion and Therapy 23

Bridges between Spirituality/Religion and Therapy 30

Case Studies 39

Exercises 41

Suggested Readings 43

Chapter 3 Western or Monotheistic Religions 45

Chapter Objectives 45

Overview 45

Working across Differences 55

Judaism 58

Christianity 62

Islam 74

Zoroastrianism 77

Sikhism 81

Native American Religions 83

Case Studies 86

Exercises 87

Suggested Readings and Web Sites 89

Chapter 4 Eastern Religions 93

Chapter Objectives 93

Overview 93

Hinduism 94

Shintoism 99

Jainism 102

Buddhism 105

Confucianism 108

Taoism 111

Case Studies 114

Exercises 116

Suggested Readings and Web Sites 117

Chapter 5 Theoretical Integration with Cultural Implications 121

Chapter Objectives 121

Therapy Integration 121

Transference Issues 126

Countertransference Issues 128

Types of Integration 131

Cultural Implications 133

Case Studies 136

Exercises 138

Suggested Readings 140

Chapter 6 Counseling Focus Integration 141

Chapter Objectives 141

Helping Clients Develop a Spiritual Identity 141

Case Application 151

Counseling Avenues 153

Case Studies 158

Exercises 160

Suggested Readings 162

Chapter 7 Ethical Issues 163

Chapter Objectives 163

Overview 163

Informed Consent 164

Determination of Secular or Religious Counseling 171

Development of a Spiritual Identity 172

Avoidance or Minimization of Dual or Multiple Relationships with Clients 175

Collaboration with Clients' Religious Leaders 177

Respect for Clients' Religious or Spiritual Values 178

Boundaries of the Counselor's Work Settings 181

Counselor's Area of Competence 182

Case Studies 184

Exercises 186

Suggested Readings 188

Chapter 8 Specific Treatment Techniques 189

Chapter Objectives 189

Overview 189

Religious Practices 191

General Practices 199

Religious and General Practices 204

Case Studies 211

Exercises 212

Suggested Readings 214

Appendix A American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Code of Ethics 215

Appendix B American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice 225

Appendix C American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct 251

Appendix D National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics 275

References 297

Author Index 309

Subject Index 313


"Written in articulate, succinct, and well-organized prose." (Choice, April 2003)