Spirituality can be described as the process through which an individual experiences when seeking their transcendent meaning or the purpose for their existence. This purpose-searching journey is linked to religion. However, in the recent times, spirituality is considered as a facet that is not constrained to religious limit but encompassing the relationship between the universe and the inhabitants of the earth. The issue that has been observed when counseling individuals on spirituality is the divergent and parallel relationship that exists between psychology and religion as part of the practices conducted during therapy session (Fontana, 2003). The controversial nature of this issue has been researched with the main recommendation being presented is that the therapists who functions on psychological knowledge and expertise should be willing to incorporate the spiritual beliefs of the counselee in order to allow for healing to take place as in totality assist with therapy provision. This paper seeks to critically analyze the probability of psychology and Christianity being incorporated in spiritual counseling and the overall outcomes that should be expected.
Two conflicting notions that are associated with the issue between psychology and religion in spirituality counseling stems from the reason the individual is seeking counseling. From a religious perspective, faith is God is said to be a fundamental element that should be incorporated in spirituality counseling to ensure that their complete healing. Contrary to this, psychologists opine that human condition, which places an individual in a position to seek counseling, is healed through the application of psychological knowledge (Fontana, 2003). Christians have indicated a negative attitude towards psychology because they term it as being too subjective. The only solution suggested to work according to the Christian beliefs is solving psychological disturbance spirituality. This means incorporation of biblical principles, as they believe the Bible provides all the necessary information that is pertinent in ensuring spirituality is attained. Case in point, it is imperative to note that the division between Christianity and psychologists should exist, as both disciplines are effective in solving human related problems.
Depending on the mode of spirituality, counseling will be employed, it is important to note that flexibility in terms of theory application is meaningful. With this in mind, one of the major contradictory elements that set apart psychological and Christian counseling is the fact that the former is not monolithic hence one can incorporate different theories depending on the situation the individual is facing (Vieten et al., 2013). An exemplary instance is the application of the cognitive behavioral theory ion solving psychological problems stemming from behavior and use of existential theory when dealing with an individual suffering from grief (Fontana, 2003). In conclusion, it is evident that psychological perspective on spirituality is elaborate because it allows for the exploration of different and varied theories that are useful in enabling the individual to learn more about himself or herself and enter the cycle of self-actualization.
The interconnectedness of psychology and Christianity in terms of offering spirituality counseling can be noted on close observation of the philosophies taught in both disciplines. For psychology, there is a humanistic aspect that is part of its theoretical framework. Evidently, this aspect promotes humanity with the notion taught being the human race is the highest standard of morality as well as truth. This aspect is also observed from Christian teaching whereby man is said to be uniquely created and resembling the image of the God. The aforementioned justifications elucidates that there is possibility that Christianity and psychology are able to interact in order to allows individuals to realize their spirituality (Fontana, 2003). The primary disparity that is observable in both disciplines is the portrayal of man and morality. According to philosophy, man is considered morally good intrinsically. In that, they can solve the problems that are faced during their lifetime as they hold the capability of being morally upright.
It is important to consider the basis of these disciplines in terms of the needs they cater to for the individual. Psychotherapy caters to the needs of an individual that concerns their emotional welfare. This includes acceptance, love and self-esteem as well as the need to dominate. This form of therapy seeks to ensure that these needs are met so that a person is able to become moral, happy, and kind (Miller, 2003). If the contrary happens, the person develops traits that include unkindness, immorality, and hatred towards his fellow human being. On the other hand, when counseling on spirituality from a Christian perspective, happiness, and true satisfaction are the two important needs that are catered to through teaching the individual to develop a close relationship with God (Fontana, 2003). Additionally, Christians teaching appeal to a person to pursue godliness in their daily lives in order for them to achieve spirituality and remain obedient to the laws and commandments of God. Evidently, a big difference can be observed from these teachings. However, it is also valid to state that there are similarities that elaborate on the interconnection that can exist when both principles are incorporated in spirituality therapy,
Fontana, D. (2003). Psychology, religion, and spirituality. Malden, MA: BPS Blackwell.
Miller, G. (2003). Incorporating spirituality in counseling and psychotherapy. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons.
Vieten, C., Scammell, S., Pilato, R., Ammondson, I., Pargament, K. and Lukoff, D. (2013). Spiritual and religious competencies for psychologists. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5(3), pp.129-144.
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