A Gallup poll indicated that religion is a “very important” part of the lives of approximately 67% of the American public, of whom 96% believe in God and 42% attend religious services regularly (Powell, Shahabi, & Thoresen, 2003). People join religious institutions and follow spiritual paths for a variety of reasons, such as faith, prayer, social support, cultural traditions, commitment to the community, and more. The role of religion in people’s lives is dramatic and research on the topic has mirrored this importance. Research on the relationship between religion, spirituality, and health has significantly increased over the last 15 years in a variety of disciplines (Koenig, 2012). The mental health field has also piqued an interest in the topic of religion and spirituality, and many studies have shown that religiosity and spirituality have a positive relationship with mental health (Koenig, 2012). This purpose of this paper is to explore the mechanisms through which religion and spirituality produce well-being and happiness, and how to incorporate those mechanisms into clinical practice.
Definitions of Religion and Spirituality A critically important aspect of studying religion and spirituality is establishing the appropriate definitions of the terms. Researchers have often had trouble differentiating the two concepts and find there are significant overlap between them. Koenig (2012) defines religion as an organized system of beliefs, practices, rituals, and symbols
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McMinn unveils the realism of what essentially happens in the counseling office. He dives into the fitting together “Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling”. McMinn explains how “those who enter therapy in the midst of their pain experience a restorative counseling relationship that brings acceptance hope, and meaning into their broken lives” (McMinn, 2011, p. 20). There are various questions surrounding Christian counseling that McMinn faces head on in this book when it comes to the challenges counselors face as it relates to integrating religion and spirituality in their sessions. Life on the frontier as McMinn puts it, is where counselors face six basic challenges. Challenges such as moving from two areas of competence to three, blurred personal-professional distinctions, expanded definitions of training, confronting dominant views of mental health, establishing a scientific base or even defining relevant ethical standards (McMinn, 2011). Personal journey’s that McMinn has taken throughout his career provide him with the knowledge, skills and abilities to depict how we should face these challenges. McMinn talks about how many counselors have a need to interpret studies, have good psychodynamics and figure out which cognitive therapy is right for their counseling. As he states, “Christian counseling is more complex than other forms of counseling because our goal are multifaceted (McMinn, 2011, p.
This study evaluated the interaction effect of organized religiosity, non-organized religiosity, and intrinsic religiosity on general mental health and depression. In a random stratified sample of 1000 participants from Alabama counties those who scored high in all three dimensions of religiosity reported fewer depression symptoms and better mental health.
Treatment outcome predictors of African American culture are that one may attend church services weekly to praise and worship. While attending services one will depend on his or her belief in God and worship in faith with a commitment to themselves and God. Spirituality is a strategy one will use to cope with events or experiences within his or her life that is stressful. These strategies are considered external, support from religious beliefs such as prayer, reading the bible, and the reflections of one’s belief. Spirituality is also seen as an integral to health and a sense of one having the feeling of wholeness or well being (Britt, 2004).
In my opinion, it may be difficult to define health because it may vary from one person to another depending on one’s perception about health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not just the absence of disease (Saylor, 2004). However, I feel that the WHO definition of health misses a very important aspect of health which is spirituality. According to Anye et al. (2013), spirituality is associated “with a more positive outlook and better quality of life”. In fact, they found that in patients with advanced stages of cancer, religious belief was associated with higher life satisfaction and patients who engaged in religious activity reported higher levels of happiness and had positive outcomes (Anye et al. 2013). In addition, studies have shown that mental health patients who have consistently identified spiritual needs as an important issue to them had symptoms of relief and general well-being (Chidarikire, 2012).
In the book, Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling, McMinn expands upon the theory of integrating psychology and theology by providing the reader with concrete methods to utilize in counseling. His approach to integration is filled with helpful guidance for any counselor striving to strike the appropriate balance in their sessions. McMinn divulges into how and when to use scripture, prayer, confession and redemption. He advocates for utilizing these methods on a case by cases basis to ensure the client’s best interest. Overall, the book provides a tangible understanding of how to integrate theology and psychology into different counseling sessions.
Western scholars of religion have attempted to define the term religion for a long time. Often times, these definitions are too narrow and are based on the individual’s own background and
The benefits that religion and spirituality provide in recovery and psychotherapeutic support are exponential (Bradshaw et. al). It is one of the reasons the correlation between religious mindset and mental health continues to draw scholarly attention. Another confounding variable is that there is little cultural separation between spiritual guidance and psychotherapy. Most Catholic Priest’s come equipped with undergraduate and seminary work, the minimum requirement to perform basic counseling in most states. Gettis, a psychiatrist and scholar, postulates that both priest and psychotherapists are mutual “socially-sanctioned healers” drawn together by the belief that they possess healing power (Gettis 188).
The influence of religion and spirituality on factors relating to an individual’s health behaviors has emerged as an area of interest for researchers, in recent years. Religiosity (formal and informal religious practice, both public and private) and spirituality (individual’s relationship to something sacred; meaning and values of one’s purpose) are regarded as having extensive influence on an individual’s cognitions, emotions and behaviors.
Spirituality and religion hold different values and truths depending on your personal beliefs. Being religious is a belief or practice that contains certain values one should follow. When looking deeper into religion you can find spirituality which is the part of religion that effects our spirit and soul, it is not tangible. “The Sacred within” is spirituality and pertains to God dwelling inside of our heart and soul. When looking at “the sacred within” there are certain senses that we can tap into so, we may obtain that sort of spirituality. Through solitude, silence, imagination, and nature, we can have a better sense of spirituality.
From the beginning of human existence, religion and spirituality have played immense, critical roles in the lives of people and the functionings of our society. In our world today, the conflict in religious forces combined with the conflict in spiritual forces depict both our confusion and our yearning to connect with divine forces and influence the people around us for good. Organized Religion and spirituality both provide their own unique, important influences and opportunities to individuals and our society. Each have their own set of benefits and detriments and analyzing these are growingly essential to our world because people choose to participate in one or the other or both and
In the book Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling by Mark McMinn (2011), he explores the simultaneous integration of psychology, theology, and spirituality in the counseling relationship. McMinn (2011), stresses the importance of this skill throughout the text and offers insightful and effective ways to manage this. In order to further breakdown this information, McMinn (2011) discusses and evaluates six religious intervention strategies: prayer, Scripture, sin, confession, forgiveness, and redemption. Furthermore, he
The mission of The Pastoral Institute is to care for the emotional, relational, and spiritual needs of people. The mission falls in line with the vision of The Pastoral Institute, which is to help inspire and empower people to love, serve, and live meaningfully. When discussing the goals and objectives of The Pastoral Institute from a counseling aspect, the most important goal is to restore emotional, mental, spiritual, and family well-being. The objective is to holistically solve the client’s problems by integrating science, religion, and humanistic values. Recent studies show that religious beliefs and practices are supportive to cope with stresses in life and are beneficial to mental health (Verghese,
In addition, “more than 60 percent of Americans say their whole approach to life is based on their religion, yet mental health care providers rarely take that into consideration” (Pew Research Center, 2007). Furthermore, “inquiries about spirituality should be performed in a competent manner by demonstrating spiritual sensitivity. In addition to an initial intake, clients should be permitted to express their spirituality and religious beliefs, in a respectful and supportive environment” (Cummins, Sevel, & Pedrick, 2012, p.195). It is also important for a social worker to know the difference between spirituality and religion because the two are often confused and it is necessary to have culture competence and culture sensitivity with clients that may have different beliefs than our
The book “Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christianity Counseling” by Mark R. McMinn (2011) is an informative read that delves into the issues of practically integrating concepts of psychological counseling in the Christian context. Some of the questions that McMinn (2011) aspires to address in the book include whether it is appropriate to pray with clients, the role of confession during the therapy process, whether counselors should use scripture memory during the interventions as well as the role of forgiveness and sin during the counseling therapies. The author also looks at the secret spiritual life pursued by Christian counselors. Indeed, as the author vividly points out, the value of counseling interventions especially in the Christian context relies more upon the character of the individual rather than one’s theoretical orientation or technical training (McMinn, 2011).
“Nearly everyone has some conception of religion. In fact, sometimes it appears that there are as many definitions of it as there are people” (Schmidt 9). Not only does each person have his or her own way of defining religion; each person has his or her own way of practicing religion. Studying these different practices can be difficult. There have been many people who have studied religion and through many different methods. While some people share similar findings, each person has his or her own interpretation of religion.