If I could title a passion that I have pursued consistently for the last 10 years it would be: The Intersection of Human Psychology and Religion. And yet, that title would be very much inaccurate. In fact, I want so much to find an apt and concise description for the phenomenon that I have witnessed in every individual that I have ever encountered as well as with every client I have ever treated. But I can’t. This dilemma is both a hindrance and a revelation to the issue I have brought forth. These two things, the human mind and all that is contained by the term “religion”, are both by their nature limitless. I would like to commit to writing about this topic in upcoming articles—not only because there is so much content to be covered, but to relieve myself of the weight I feel every time I try to approach this enormous subject. At times it can be too much for words.
Faith, or lack thereof it, in anything supernatural plays a role in how individuals make meaning of life’s most minute details. What we believe about ourselves, the world and those around us has been marinated in existential wonder about the spiritual world. But many seasoned clinicians have a hard time with this topic during sessions, especially when the client shares a different set of beliefs. I face this struggle, so have my colleagues and so have my own therapists when hearing me share about my own experiences. So how do we effectively create the space for dialogue on this issue with our clients? (In another article I also what to discuss why I believe it is of critical importance to touch on this subject with each of our clients.) The first step is investing time and getting our own therapy where we can discuss the evolution of our spiritual and religious beliefs (or lack thereof) and actually experience this discussion through the eyes of a “client”. I think this is paramount – we just cannot afford to skip this step. The second step is examining multiculturalism in therapy and what sensitive and ethical practice looks like. I will write separately about these in following entries. I think these two first steps of self-examination create the foundation necessary to help our clients in fundamental ways.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA