“The professional counselor recognizes that the client’s beliefs (or absence of beliefs) about spirituality and/or religion are central to his or her worldview and can influence psychosocial functioning.“
Historically, mental health professionals have neglected the effects of spirituality on the client’s worldview and avoid the topic during the counseling session. ASERVIC Competency Two attempts to remedy this trend by emphasizing the importance of integrating client spiritual worldview in counseling.
“…spirituality and/or religion are central to [the client’s] worldview…”ASERVIC Competency Two
The second ASERVIC competency explains that each component of the client’s worldview is not more important than another. Specifically, the client’s spiritual beliefs affect his or her worldview just as other components of his or her identity; therefore, the counselor must consider client spirituality within the counseling arena.
The counseling professional is responsible to identify and integrate the client’s spiritual worldview during session out of an understanding that the spiritual worldview has a direct effect on client functioning and the progress of the counseling dynamic.
Moreover, client spirituality varies in presentation. The second ASERVIC competency explains that clients might maintain a well-developed spiritual practice, or might identify as adhering to no spiritual practices. The content of the spiritual practice can change depending on the client, but the expression and process of understanding the spiritual practice within the counseling session can affect client progress no matter which client you are seeing.
Working with Clients
When working with clients, counseling professionals must be unafraid to address topics of spirituality with the client. The counseling professional listens, guides, and promotes client functioning by prompting the client to consider how his or her current spiritual practice might be impacting him or her.
While many clients recognize the influence of their spiritual practices, some clients might need help to understand the concept of spirituality and could benefit from psychoeducation. Prepare your resources prior to seeing clients to promote client understanding of the importance of spiritual worldview.
Know that integrating spirituality in the counseling session can promote client psychosocial functioning. Be confident in broaching the topic or allowing your client to do so, knowing that you are considering the client holistically by integrating their spirituality.
What Steps Have You Taken?
Counseling professionals are called to understand and identify the importance of the individual spiritual practice of the client. A client’s understanding of his or her spirituality can positively or negatively affect their functioning, and thus the outcome of counseling. Remember to integrate the client’s individual spiritual practice in the counseling session as appropriate.
What opportunities have you pursued to meet ASERVIC Competency Two?
- Can you identify ways in which you allow the topic of spirituality to enter the counseling room?
- Are you prepared with resources to provide your client in the event they would like to develop their spiritual practice further as a means to psychosocial functioning?