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Exploring Therapy, Spirituality and Healing

Exploring Therapy, Spirituality and Healing

William N. West


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Book Details


What place does spiritual need and healing have in the counselling room? Denying the spiritual dimension of personal distress can be potentially hurtful to clients, but the issue of spirituality is also fraught with professional and ethical issues for therapists. This book draws on original research to move the debate about spiritual need forwards in relation to therapeutic practice, supervision, and training.
An international team of contributors offer a diverse range of perspectives to critically explore a wide spectrum of spiritual issues, including prayer, pastoral care and traditional healing. Edited by a leading figure in the field, this book:
• Illuminates experiences of both clients and practitioners through detailed case vignettes
• Draws on cutting-edge research in this growing field
• Invites readers to address their own therapeutic practice with hands-on discussion points
This measured and thoughtful approach provides a fascinating insight to an often complex and controversial topic. As such, the book is essential reading for trainees and practitioners of counselling and psychotherapy.
WILLIAM WEST Reader in Counselling Studies and Director of Counselling Courses at the University of Manchester, UK. He is a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and has written extensively on therapy and spirituality, qualitative research, supervision, humanistic therapy and culture.
The book is well structured, with much discussion of ethics, implications for practice, supervision and training. A plethora of examples and case studies make it accessible and engaging...It should be of interest to all therapists who are interested in the spiritual dimension of their work and willing to look beyond the confines of their own framework.' - Dr Els van Ooijen, Therapy Today

'This book has left me with an excitement about what we are engaging with when we enter into a therapeutic relationship, while acknowledging with West that we need to take great care, as 'therapeutic practice around spirituality and healing remains controversial''. Victoria Sherratt, Thresholds

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cove
Contents vii
List of figures and tables xii
Notes on contributors xiii
Acknowledgements xvi
Foreword by Brian Thorne xvii
Introduction 1
What is spirituality? 3
What is healing? 4
Summary of chapters 5
Who is this book for? 9
A question of style 9
Part One: Therapy and Spirituality 11
1 Spirituality and Therapy: The Tensions and Possibilities 13
Introduction 13
A spiritual moment in therapy 13
What is spirituality and how does it relate to therapy? 16
Therapy, culture and spirituality 18
Evangelism in religion and therapy 24
Some promising developments 26
Conclusion 27
Discussion points 27
2 When Clients’ Spirituality Is Denied in Therapy 28
Introduction 28
Background 28
Clients’ experiences of self-censorship and self-disclosure 29
Implications for practice 33
A model for integration 43
Conclusion 46
Discussion points 47
3 Counselling and Pastoral Care 48
Introduction 48
Background 48
Three critical issues for contemporary pastoral care 52
Examples from practice 54
Implications for practice 59
Ethics and supervision issues 60
Guidelines for practitioners 61
Conclusion 62
Discussion points 62
4 Integrating Prayer in Counselling 63
Introduction 63
Background 63
Overview of my research and the main findings 64
Implications for practice 67
Supervision issues 75
Conclusion 75
Discussion points 76
5 Compassion in Psychotherapy 77
Introduction 77
Background 77
Findings from the research 79
Examples from practice 84
A nascent theory of compassion 85
Implications and guidelines for practice 87
Ethics and supervision issues 88
Diversity or culture 89
Conclusion 90
Discussion points 90
6 Counselling, Spirituality and Culture 91
Introduction 91
Background 91
Literature context 92
Setting the scene: Why explore practitioners’ perspectives? 93
Focus group study 94
Findings from research 95
Matters arising 100
Implications for training and supervision 102
Ethical issues and international dimensions 104
Guidelines for practitioners 105
Conclusion 107
Discussion points 108
7 Embodied Spirituality 109
Introduction 109
Inner awareness 110
Background 110
Findings 111
Illuminations 122
Conclusion 127
Discussion points 128
Part Two: Therapy and Healing 129
8 When Counselling Becomes Healing 131
Introduction 131
My experiences 131
What is healing? 133
Unintentional healing in therapy 134
Ethics 136
Boundaries 137
Supervision 138
Taboo 139
Conclusion 141
Discussion points 141
9 Traditional Healing in the Course of Counselling and Psychotherapy 142
Introduction 142
Background 142
The role of traditional healing in health and wellness 145
Concurrent use of traditional healing and western therapies 146
Why do clients in therapy consult traditional healers? 149
The case of Shiva 151
Ethical issues and their implications for therapy 153
Conclusion 156
Discussion points 157
10 Assessing a Counsellor’s Use of a Seemingly Spiritual Gift 158
Introduction 158
Personal background 159
General background 162
Findings from research 163
Ethical considerations 165
Supervision 167
Matters arising 168
Conclusion 170
Discussion points 171
11 Psychic Energy in Counselling 172
Introduction 172
Psychic experiences 172
Background 174
What is psychic energy? 175
Experiences in practice 175
Supervision issues 178
Implications for practice 179
Ethical issues 182
Guidelines for practitioners 184
Conclusions 184
Discussion points 185
Part Three: Research and Practice 187
12 Research in Spirituality and Healing 189
Introduction 189
Background 189
Successful outcomes 190
What has already been done? 192
Approaching methodology 195
Approaching the topic 198
Guidelines for researching therapy, spirituality and healing 200
Conclusion 201
Discussion points 202
13 Emergent Spirituality 203
Introduction 203
Background 203
Two contemporary examples of spiritual leaders 205
Further historical examples in the West 206
Emergent spirituality 208
Two examples from my research 209
Conclusion 212
Discussion points 213
14 Practice around Therapy, Spirituality and Healing 214
Introduction 214
Challenges for the therapist in working with spirituality and healing 214
Models for working with spirituality and healing in therapy 217
Therapists exploring their spirituality 219
Guidelines for training and practice of therapists around spirituality and healing 222
Finally 222
Discussion points 223
Bibliography 224
Index 245