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Clinical counseling Issues and applications for spiritual clients. Michele D. Aluoch River of Life Professional Counseling LLC www.rolpc.org (614) 353-4157. Incorporating Spirituality Into Core Counseling Courses (Briggs & Rayle , 2005).
Michele D. Aluoch
River of Life Professional Counseling LLC
Questions For Clinical Counseling Students To Consider Regarding Their Own Spirituality:
1. What are your views concerning religion and spirituality?
2. How do you believe these views will affect your counseling role?
3. How will you be able to empathize with clients who have differing spiritual values than your own?
4. How will you keep your own spiritual values/beliefs from inappropriately influencing the counseling relationship?
Supervisor as teacher:
Supervisor as facilitator:
Supervisor As Model:
Write definitions of:
(Turton, 2004; Belaire, Young, Elder, 2005; )
Moral teachings Scriptures or Bible verses Praying in Session
Listening to story of their conversion or changes from past conversion, current struggles, etc.
Hearing some thing about the counselor’s spiritual experience, moral beliefs, lifestyle, or conversion experiences
Collateral consultation with clergy pastors, or religious “authorities” that the client can relate to or is accountable to
Use “religious language” in session Use religious examples, stories, or parables
Be willing to learn about client’s personal spiritual experience, denomination, journey.
Refer client to someone who understands or can better empathically relate if n able to relate to it or understand or respect that
Accept the religious practices and rituals that are part of client’s experience.
What Evangelical Christians Want From Counseling
12 Sample Questions:
1. Do you wish to discuss spiritual issues in counseling when relevant?
2. Do you believe in God?
3. What is God to you?
4. Is spirituality important to you (scaling)
5. Do you have a religious affiliation? Imp.to you? (scaling)
6.Do you attend a church, synagogue, or another gathering place?
7. How closely do you follow the teachings of your religion?
8. How do you experience God’s guidance in your personal life?
9. Are you aware of any spiritual resources or practice sin your life that could be used to help you cope with or solve your problem? What are they?
10. Anything about your spirituality or religious community that concerns you?
11. Would you like your counselor to consult with your spiritual/religious leader if this could be helpful to you?
12. Are you willing to consider trying religious or spiritualty based suggestions from your counselor if they could be helpful to you?
Level Two- Standardized Measures
Questions To Facilitate Client’s Sharing Their Spiritual Narrative (Hoogestraat & Trammel, 2003)
Questions For Cultivating A Spiritual Autobiography
(Sociocultural Clinical perspective):
Higher differentiation associated with:
(Answer these same spiritual autobiography questions about yourself)
Exercise: Developing Self Awareness & Differentiation as a Therapist
What are your thoughts, views, beliefs on each of the following words? Can you counsel someone with differing views from your own?
Common Thinking Errors:
1. Awfulizing- ____ is awful, terrible, catastrophic or as bad as it could possibly be.
2) Low Frustration Tolerance- I can’t stand _____; _____ is too much and is intolerable or unbearable.
3) Self Downing- I am no good, worthless, useless, and utter failure, beyond hope or help, devoid of value.
4) Other downing- You are no good, worthless, useless, an utter failure, beyond hope, of no value
1) But God can never separate us from His love, Romans 8:39
2) But those who endure are called blessed, James 5:11
3 & 4) But my/others’ sin does not determine me to be a worthless person the rest of my life. I can change and turn around if not by my will power by God’s grace. My life is still meaningful and significant, Titus 3:4-7
Common Misbeliefs in the Counseling Literature:
Five Common Belief Systems of Conservative Christians to be Aware of in Counseling:
Spiritual assessment Psych Assessment (may include spiritual history)
Spiritual experience, DMS IV diagnosis- may be psychopathology
Spiritual Transformation Symptom reduction, Increased functioning,
Triadic Rel. Improvement Dyadic Therapeutic Alliance
Direct Advisement Therapeutic Interventions
Discernment Mutual collaboration
Spiritual Resistance Psychological Resistance
Steps in group therapy:
Grace- all need to know God’s unconditional love kindnes who acknowledge their need fro Him.
Vulnerability- Self disclosure, listening, and validation
Truth- What God says about the situation, hearing input for others
Ownership- responsibility for each one’s own part in healing process
Prayer showed statistically significant results in areas of conflict resolution:
Feeling, questions, BUT pos. self message
Emotions spiritual resources, faith statement
forgive initiates the treatment and then decide later about
and forgiveness process commitment to forgive
“easier” early stage the most important part of
the entire forgiveness process and also the most difficult.
and positive step in healing have to bear injustices if not client’s responsibility
during the deeper work phases of to even start and go through
forgiveness every phase of forgiveness
Hurt party deals Offender Participates Reconciliation
Forgiveness no no no
Forgive no no no
Acceptance yes no yes or no
Forgiveness yes yes yes
(E.g. Overly compliant, conflict avoiders, codependent caretakers)
Negative CognitionsForgiveness-Based Cognitions
Violation occurs Violation occurs
Negative emotions follow Negative emotions follow
“I will get even”,” I want revenge”, “I will choose to forgive this person.
“They will not get away w/this”, The violation no longer has control over me.”
”He/she must pay for this”.
I can’t stand this pain”,
“I cannot tolerate this,”
“I must get even.”
The object-image changes from Negative emotions are alleviated.
friend to enemy.
Aggressive energy is directed The object-image is less threatening or
toward the object which produces remains non-threatening. Freedom from inner innerconflict. conflict is enhanced, peace restored, and life renewed.
O=observe your effects on your partner
V=value your partner
E=evaluate common interests
“ I see my offender’s motivations and understand
his or her point of view. I feel what he or she might
have been feeling. Further, I have felt similar
feelings. I see that I have done things or wanted to
do things as wicked as the other person. In those
instances of my own weakness, I would like to have
forgiveness extended to me. I want mercy for my
own foibles. Who am I to demand justice for this
person when I want mercy for myself? I know that
the other person is needy. I want to help this person.
I want to release him or her from the hate, anger, and
desire for retribution that I feel. That is the decent
thing to do. That is the right thing to do.”
The FREE Program taught to parents of 0-9 year olds:
Dispositional Forgiveness (Sandage & Williamson, 2010; Bellah, Blellah, & Johnson, 2003; Van OyenWitvl;iet, Ludwig, & Vander Laan, 2001 )
Steps of Phase One:
Steps of Phase Two:
Uncovering Phase (Steps 1-8)
Decision Phase (Steps 9-11)
Work Phase (Steps 12-15)
Deepening Phase (Steps 16-20)
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