The Human Experience of Spirituality: A New Perspective for Therapy (Swansea University, 2011)

The Human Experience of Spirituality: A New Perspective for Therapy (Swansea University, 2011)
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  The Human Experience of Spirituality: A New Perspective for Therapy 5295961The topic of spirituality is very diverse, subjectively interpreted, and is valueddifferently between individuals (Plante, 2007; Worthington & Aten, 2009). Whilstsome may be devoutly religious, others may be agnostic or atheist, and though thesethree terms attempt to broadly define a wide range of religious belief, they do notrecognise individual expression of spirituality (Worthington & Aten, 2009).Individual expression of spirituality pertains to an intimate level of personalexperience, one that is closest to the self, and may present in a variety of ways(Miovic, 2004; Worthington & Aten, 2009).Recent research has demonstrated a positive relationship betweenreligion/spirituality, health, and wellbeing, illustrating that belief protects against lifestressors (Kim, & Seidlitz, 2002). Cultural expressions of spirituality are prevalentthroughout history and it has been suggested that spirituality is an important aspect of human experience that could provide a useful focus for therapy (Culliford, 2002). Asa dimension of culture, it has a natural place in the therapeutic setting, and methodsshould be drawn to efficiently deal with client spiritual concerns (Lukoff, 1998;Plante, 2007).This paper will address the relation of spirituality to mental health and thetherapeutic setting with regard to its existence as an important cultural element and its intimate relationship with the ‘inner  -  being’, or person inside the physical body (Barrett, 2000; Culliford, 2002; Post & Wade, 2009). It will illustrate the way inwhich encouraging spiritual development can help to benefit quality of life and thetherapeutic relationship, and how practise and belief can complement or even beintegrated with conventional therapeutic methods (Delaney, Forcehimes, Campbell, &Smith; Gall, 2006; Mason & Hargreaves, 2001; Brown & Ryan, 2003).  The Human Experience of Spirituality: A New Perspective for Therapy 5295962It will begin by addressing spirituality, what it means, and itsmethodologically ill relationship with science (Culliford, 2002; Miovic, 2004). It willthen move on to discuss spirituality and its links with psychology, elucidating whythis matter is a relatively new field of study (Pargament & Saunders, 2007). This willlead onto explain the difference between spirituality and religion, and the way inwhich they can occur together or separately (Lukoff, 1998; Post & Wade, 2009;Worthington & Aten, 2009). It will address spirituality as being a facet, or domain of human experience, in the same way as physical, intellectual, emotional and social andwill discuss the natural theory of religion and spirituality (Barrett, 2000; Culliford,2002).It will examine spirituality in regards to psychopathology and the importanceof determining healthy from unhealthy spiritual or religious expression (Lukoff, 1998;Johnson & Friedman, 2008). It will illustrate that spiritual claims can cause suspicionof delusion, especially in regards to uncommon subjective experiences. Theseuncommon spiritual experiences are often reflected in the use psychedelic drugs, anddo not usually need determination of psychopathology. It will discuss the researchedutility of psychedelic substances in therapy and its aim to ignite such spiritualexperiences (Walsh, 1982; Sessa, 2005; Anderson, 2006). It will be suggested thatthese spiritual awakening efforts should be used in normal therapy in absence of psychedelic substances, and whilst spiritual claims appear abstract and objectivelyillogical, their subjective importance must not be dismissed.This will lead on to examine spirituality in relation to clinical psychology andpsychotherapy. It will discuss the matter of client spirituality and the likelihood of spiritual matters being raised and will follow by an explanation of the requirement fortherapist sensitivity and methods of approach, and the responsibility of referring the  The Human Experience of Spirituality: A New Perspective for Therapy 5295963client to a more appropriate source in the event of therapist limitations (Culliford,2002; Plante, 2007; Post & Wade, 2009; Worthington & Aten, 2009). This will leadon to discuss the pragmatism of spiritual/religious belief and practise, and itscomplementing and integrating potential for therapy (Miller, 1998; Maltby, Lewis, &Day, 1999; Steger & Frazier, 2005).It will then move on to introduce useful spiritual practises that suitable forincorporation with conventional methods and will discuss in relation to mental health,care and well-being. Meditation will be conferred in considerable depth as it hasalready shown successful integration with conventional therapy, in a detailed programknown as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) (Teasedale, Segal, Williams,Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000; Mason & Hargreaves, 2001; Miovic, 2004; Kenny& Williams, 2007). Prayer will be indicated as a common spiritual practise that manyclients engage in alongside therapy, which can provide a useful source for comfortand support (Poloma & Pendleton, 1989; Delaney et al, 2009, Richards, Smith,   Berrett,   O'Grady, & Bartz, 2009). It will illustrate that each belief or faith has its ownrituals and positive philosophy, which can be turned to affirm personal meaning andfaith (Barrett, 2000). These examples will illustrate that spiritual practises cancomplement or integrate with traditional therapy, to encourage self-affirmingbehaviour.It will then move on to discuss alternative and complementary therapy, asmany of these practises have spiritual basis, and will raise the medically suggestedrelationship with the placebo effect (Miller, Emanuel, Rosenstein, & Straus, 2004). Itwill highlight that practitioners desire rigorous scientific research to deliberatewhether benefits are due to the placebo effect or a more specific reason (Miller et al.,2004). It will then move on to discuss the placebo response in considerable depth, and  The Human Experience of Spirituality: A New Perspective for Therapy 5295964illustrate the possibility of a self-healing, mind-body relationship (Stewart-Williams& Podd, 2004; Wallach & Jonas, 2004; Shang, Huwiler-Müntener, Nartey, Jüni,Dörig, Sterne, Pewsner, & Egger, 2005; Koshi & Short, 2007; Miller & Kaptchuk,2008; Thompson & Ritenbaugh, 2009; Miller & Brody, 2010). These examples willbe used to indicate the power of the non-physical, inner-self or spirit, which reacts tonon-physical based methods, such as the placebo effect, through belief andexpectancy.It will lead on to explore the relation of spiritual belief and practise to adverselife situations that appear in psychotherapy. It will highlight stress, anxiety, anddepression, indicating the positive impact of spiritual belief and practise such asmeditation, on negative, unhelpful cognition (Kabat-Zinn, Massion, Kristeller,Peterson, Fletcher, Pbert, Lenderking, & Santorelli, 1992; Kim, & Seidlitz, 2002;Lambert, Lambert, & Yamase, 2003; Grossman, et al., 2004, Miovic, 2004). It willexplicate that bereavement and grief are likely to raise existential and spiritualconcerns, and may be a time for religious/spiritual difficulty, also known as ‘religiousstrain’ (Exline, Yali, & Sanderson, 2000). It will highlight that tending to clientsdamaged faith may include resolving feelings of anger towards God for the loss of aloved one. It will also illustrate that individuals who have suffered trauma mayexperience similar religious strain, in expressing maladaptive anger or a disconnectionfrom god (Fontana and Rosenheck, 2004; Gall, 2006; Gillum, Sullivan, & Bybee ,2006 ; Peres, Moreira-Almeida, Nasello, & Koenig, 2010). It will indicate that apositive connection and a source for comfort and meaning can be re-established tohelp alleviate some of the difficulty (Walsh, King, Jones, Tookman, & Blizard, 2002).It will highlight that attending to clie nts’ spirituality can illustrate improvement in relation to substance use and eating disorder recovery, by developing  The Human Experience of Spirituality: A New Perspective for Therapy 5295965personal strength and empowerment (Delaney, Forcehimes, Campbell, & Smith,2009). The spiritual theme of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and NarcoticsAnonymous (NA) and the development of a Higher Power (HP) will be discussed(Carter, 1998; Green, Fullilove, & Fullilove, 1998; Galanter, 2006). It will then moveon to discuss body image issues, eating disorders, and the way in which spiritualitybrings focus on the aspect of the self that is not physical, to rebuild a healthy sense of self and coping methods for life challenges (Jacobs-Pilipski, Winzelberg, Wilfley,Bryson, & Taylor, 2005; Marsden, Karagianni, & Morgan, 2007; Richards, Smith,   Berrett,   O'Grady, & Bartz, 2009). In both of these disorders, spiritual belief andpractise and be turned to for a source of support, and reinforcement, in times of difficulty or weakness.It will illustrate that threatening illness, death, and dying are predominanttopics where spiritual concerns arise. This paper will discuss the impact of addressingthe spiritual in relation to near death experience (NDE), cancer and palliative care. Itwill explain that in terminal illness, spirituality it can help to sustain meaning andguard against symptoms of depression, in spite of physical adversity (Moadel,Morgan, Fatone, Grennan, Carter, Laruffa, Skummy, & Dutcher, 1999; McClain,Rosenfeld, & Breitbart, 2003; Nelson, Jacobson, Weinberger, Bhaskaran, Rosenfeld,Breitbart, & Roth, 2009). This will follow by an exemplification of the profoundpositive changes in worldview of individuals who have suffered a NDE. Thesechanges are reported to be the result of a ‘spiritual awakening’ and dramatically ignite meaning and purpose in life (Rosen, 1975; Groth-Marnat & Summers, 1998). Theseexamples will highlight that spiritual meaning is an important, fulfilling, andsustaining aspect of experience. In recognition that spiritual experience differs fromnormal experience, this paper will examine the underlying neurology to gain a greater


Feb 12, 2018
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