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Free «Spirituality and Religion in Counseling» Essay Sample

Spirituality is an important quality of a person’s identity, which should be considered in any kind of psychological counseling. The example of a young woman, Katie, can illustrate this idea. Born in a Catholic family, Katie was raised according to Catholic Church beliefs and traditions, restricted to what was allowed by Catholic faith (Thomas,&Schwarzbaum, 2006). However, later, in an expression of autonomy, Katie decided to marry a man practicing a different religion, a Jew, and this posed a big challenge to her religious identity. Thus, this paper uses the case of Katie to explain the relation between a person’s spirituality and his/her religious identity and how these aspects should be addressed in counseling.

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Religion Influences on Katie

According to psychologists, the development of religious identity and faith goes hand in hand with other developmental components, for example, cognitive development (Blando, 2006). Spirituality and religiousness influence all person's life and their decision-making. Therefore, to be a competent counselor in the modern times, one must examine their clients’ spirituality thoroughly, learning about their faith and determining how the patients’ beliefs affect their behavior. For example, Katy, who was born and raised in a Catholic family, began practicing Catholic traditions early in her childhood (Thomas, &Schwarzbaum, 2006). She was taught Catholic values at the school she attended, by religious services and her parents. Any attempts of the girl to question the doctrines were foiled and discouraged. Knowing these facts about Katie’s spiritual consciousness formation could help the counselor to have a better understanding of her feelings and reactions.

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Due to the strict spiritual teachings that she received, Katie's decision to marry a Jew was not going to change her religious life. According to her, they were to embrace both religions because her husband's religion was an important component in her. Both Katie and Daniel had to engage a counselor to be able to address the interfaith marriage that came with different beliefs. Other than the marriage, childbearing and child upbringing was another issue. Because of the strict teachings she had received, Katie appeared to be extremely devoted to her religion and decided to not only expose her children to religious practices and teachings, but to enrich their lives with the latter (Thomas&Schwarzbaum, 2006). She actively participated in their education through activities such as preparing curriculum for their studies. Therefore, Katie's upbringing in Catholic Church and studying in Catholic schools influenced the way she behaved, related with people and how perceived the world, as seen in her marriage and child upbringing.

Consideration of Spirituality and Religion by a Counselor

 
 
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In facilitating a counseling session involving a strongly rooted believer or people with an interfaith relationship, a counselor will need to change some of the strategies to ensure his or her session will achieve the intended goals (Hay, 2008). For instance, it is always important for therapists to assist their clients with exploration of different ways to see a certain situation, as beliefs can predetermine one’s vision of a problem. In the case above, Katie is strongly rooted in the Catholic faith, while his husband is a Jew. A counselor must understand both of these religions in order to be able to offer any assistance to the clients.

Apart from understanding the religious groups and the doctrines taught in them, a counselor should also restructure the environment in which the counseling will take place (D.W. Sue,&D. Sue, 2013). Both Katie's and Daniel’s faiths are inconsistent with some details, such as certain paintings and other elements of interior design. Therefore, the counselor will have to look for a place where the surrounding does not affect the client and does not cause any discomfort; feeling of safety and calmness is what it takes for the clients to open up..For the counseling practice to be successful, the client's perception of the counselor must be positive, and the only way to reach that is to understand the peculiarities of Katie and Daniel's faith.

Conclusion

Religion and spirituality play a major role in a person’s life; they determine a person’s identity and how one relates with other people. An example of this is Katy, who, though brought up in Catholic faith, married a Jew and learned to understand both religions. She raised her children in strong faith and actively participated in their teachings by developing a curriculum for them. A counselor who sets out to a couple such as Katie and Daniel will have to understand both religions and restructure the counseling settings so that not to alter the client’s perception of counseling.

   

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