Ethical codes and professional guidelines specify that mental health providers must demonstrate competence in addressing clients’ spiritual and/or religious needs. Further, research suggests that the majority of clients seeking mental health services identify as spiritual or religious. Likewise, although most clinical trainees report a desire for preparation in spiritual and religious issues, training programs typically fail to address these competencies.
As such, this program aims to share with mental health clinicians and students the research and theory supporting the inclusion of spirituality and/or religiosity into clinical work. First, spirituality and religiosity will be defined. Then, ethical standards and professional guidelines addressing spiritual and religious issues will be presented. Moreover, strategies to increase spiritual and/or religious self-awareness of clinicians will be provided. Further, this program will describe the clinical conditions necessary for effective spiritual and/or religious integration. Finally, select spiritual and/or religious techniques that might be included in mental health treatment will be presented
To maximize participant engagement and learning, several instructional strategies will be utilized. First, Power Point slides will be used to communicate foundational information, and the slides will be made available to participants in electronic form. Second, large group discussion will be employed, asking participants to consider how the material relates to their experiences as mental health providers or students. Third, small group discussion will be used to discuss more sensitive topics, including spiritual self-awareness and spiritual identity. These conversations will then be integrated into large group discussions so that experiences and strategies might be shared with all participants. Finally, activities focused on increasing knowledge and insight will be employed, and reactions to these activities will be discussed.