“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?
More from VA-ASERVIC:
Want to read from the beginning? Check out ASERVIC Competencies Series: Competency One!
This week on the VA-ASERVIC resources page, we discuss ASERVIC Competency 14 and address the importance of including theory and research in the counseling session with our clients.
This week, we discuss competency 13, which addresses the specific techniques used within the counseling session. Previously, we have discussed the counselor’s limitations, attitude of acceptance, clinician’s choice of language, recognizing spiritual themes, intake, and diagnosis, but today we get to the meat of the spirituality subject – counseling techniques.
As we discussed in previous weeks, the client’s spiritual and religious beliefs can directly impact the pieces of the counseling process, such as the intake session, counseling rapport, and diagnosis. ASERVIC Competency 12 addresses how the client’s spiritual and religious beliefs should also affect the goals that the client wants to address.