Spirituality in Everyday Life
Spirituality is a part of the majority of Americans’ lives. A recent Gallup poll (2012) showed that about 80% of Americans have some religious affiliation, and state that religion is “very important” or “fairly important” to them. When people are struggling, it can be natural to turn to God or another higher power for direction and
support and additionally seek counseling for help. Thus, it seems that spirituality and counseling may go hand in hand for many people. Spirituality, in all its different forms, can be used to help an individual become aware of how the integration of the physical and psychological parts of a person are affected by spirituality.
Spirituality in Counseling
Until recently, it was relatively uncommon for people to discuss their religious beliefs in therapy.Traditionally psychologists received little, if any training, in spirituality in relation to therapy. Within the last decade, the American PsychologicalAssociation, a national professional organization for psychologists and the public, has grown in its recognition of the importance of spirituality and religion. For many people, spirituality is a vital component of who they are and who they hope to become. That means that the discussion of faith as a part of counseling is definitely appropriate if it something that a client desires. In general, the most common spiritual topics addressed in therapy include church services or involvement, prayer/meditation and reading spiritual texts (McConnell, C., 2013). Unfortunately, there are relatively few practitioners offering any sort of spiritual or Christian counseling to California and Alaska residents. Thus, Dr. McConnell is pleased to offer his counseling services to individuals who are seeking spiritually incorporated treatment.
Spiritual Integration at Finding Your Way
In order to provide you with the most comprehensive care, Dr. McConnell will ask you about whether you would like religion/spirituality incorporated into you therapy. During the initial counseling session, he may inquire about your spiritual background. He is happy to help clients explore their beliefs as well as incorporating spiritually-based coping skills into your individual treatment plan. Above all, Dr. McConnell respects his clients’ wishes, and understands that spirituality can be a sensitive topic. Therefore, Dr. McConnell will not discuss faith with you unless you choose to have spirituality included in your counseling. Religious and spiritual concerns are approached without judgment, and clients should feel free to bring up religion/spiritual beliefs in session whenever they would like.
Dr. McConnell’s Training
The graduate program at George Fox University, where Dr. McConnell earned his doctorate, is housed in a Quaker-affiliated Christian college. George Fox University’s Doctor of Psychology program is one of six in the nation with a focus on religious integration in counseling. During his education, Dr. McConnell received specialized training in the integration of psychology and Christian faith through multiple graduate courses. While learning about spiritual integration, Dr. McConnell has studied a variety of world religions in relation to counseling. Over the last several years, Dr. McConnell has gained valuable experience with spirituality in various settings such as the VA, community mental health, and university counseling centers. He has counseled clients from a wide range of religious and spiritual backgrounds including Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism. As part of his ongoing study, Dr. McConnell reads articles about the integration of spirituality written by various psychologists who are members of APA’s Division 36, the Division of Religion and Spirituality. Psychologists in this division regularly write about religious and spiritual topics, including the importance of religion and spirituality as a part of therapy.
Dr. McConnell’s Personal Beliefs
Finding Your Way Psychological Services’ founder Dr. McConnell personally identifies with the Christian faith and it is part of his worldview. He realizes that some clients will not want to talk about spirituality or religion.
You can expect that Dr. McConnell will in no way encourage you to follow his belief system. He believes that spirituality and religion can provide people with hope and social support as well as helping them through difficult circumstances. He is committed to exploring religious and spiritual concerns collaboratively with clients and will support you in your exploration of what your spiritual beliefs mean to you. His interest is in helping individuals come to their own conclusions about the impact of faith on their daily life and activities. Dr. McConnell would never force or impose his personal beliefs on his clients because he has a personal as well as ethical obligation to respect your faith perspective.