Exploring the Spiritual : Paths for Counselors and Psychotherapists book cover
1st Edition

Exploring the Spiritual
Paths for Counselors and Psychotherapists

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ISBN 9780789036735
Published June 2, 2008 by Routledge
504 Pages

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Book Description

Gain solid empirical findings to understand your own spiritual development

To significantly impact clients’ spirituality and use the spiritual strengths the client possesses to facilitate their move toward health, a counselor must be willing to explore his or her own spiritual development. Exploring the Spiritual: Paths for Counselors and Psychotherapists provides cognitive information grounded in the empirical findings of social science, as well as experiential material which encourages the counselors’ own spiritual quest. This invaluable source clarifies the interface between the counselor’s spirituality and the client’s, and allows the spiritual dimension to emerge appropriately in the counseling process.

Exploring the Spiritual: Paths for Counselors and Psychotherapists provides challenging questions and exercises that lead the counselor or psychotherapist through a personal exploration to attain the maturity of development needed to facilitate the client’s spiritual growth. The text, written in an accessible narrative style, features helpful case studies and personal anecdotes to illustrate the concepts and processes described. Each chapter includes an overview of an issue, develops an argument or position, and presents a focused exploration of some relevant empirical research that is presented in a context that helps the reader see its personal implications. The final section leads the reader through exercises and experiments, helping them to focus on the counselor’s own inner experience or encouraging the counselor to experiment with new behaviors. This insightful resource encourages the counselor to work directly with the client’s spiritual experiences and conceptualizations without imposing on the client the beliefs of the counselor.

Topics discussed in Exploring the Spiritual: Paths for Counselors and Psychotherapists include:

  • models of spiritual development
  • steps toward spiritual maturation
  • the contribution of crises in belief and in values
  • the physical-emotional self, and the contribution of passion and sexuality
  • overcoming the divisiveness of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and culture
  • coping with suffering
  • discovering one’s own paths to the spiritual
Exploring the Spiritual: Paths for Counselors and Psychotherapists is a valuable resource for counselors, psychotherapists, counselor educators, and graduate students in psychology, counseling, psychotherapy, social work, and psychiatry.

Table of Contents

Marcia, Foreword. Acknowledgments. Introduction: Spirituality and the Counselor’s Connection with the Client. Part I: Assessing Spiritual Health and Development. What is Healthy Spirituality? An Overview. Models of Spiritual Development. Part II: Areas of Crisis. The Crisis in Values. The Crisis in Belief: Science, Spirituality, and Authority. The Body, Passion, and Spirituality. Spiritual Implications of Sexual Orientation. Overcoming Barriers, Dealing with Differences. Why So Much Suffering? Part III: Helping and Healing. Staying with Process. Continuing the Spiritual Journey: Reaching for a Spirit-filled Life. Part IV: Experiential Approaches. Centering the Self. Focusing on Others. Seeking the Spiritual Dimension. Appendix: Additional Resources. Notes. References. Index.

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David R. Matteson, PhD, taught for several years at Governors State University, where he had experience in successfully facilitating the personal and spiritual growth of students at a graduate level. He frequently makes presentations or teaches as a guest professor, and he is currently in private practice as a psychologist.


" What a good book this is!...Very well done and really a huge achievement...There is an enormous amount of good stuff here...a valuable reference book to keep by you in case of difficulties arising in your own practice which have to do with religion...every eventuality is dealt with in this thorough work."

- John Rowan, ACP North London Magazine