Counseling and Psychotherapy Within and Across Faith Traditions

Mark R. McMinn, Kimberly N. Snow and Justin J. Orton

in The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199729920
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Counseling and Psychotherapy Within and Across Faith Traditions


This chapter begins with general considerations for religiously and spiritually oriented psychotherapy, including the importance of seeing religion and spirituality as dimensions of cultural diversity, considering clients’ welfare and autonomy, and maintaining competence. Three types of religious and spiritual intervention approaches are then discussed: assimilative, accommodative, and collaborative. Assimilative approaches introduce spiritual interventions or considerations into a standard psychotherapy approach. Accommodative approaches involve adapting a standard psychotherapy regimen to include religious or spiritual matters. Collaborative approaches entail a mental health professional and religious leader working in tandem for the sake of clients’ welfare. Next, specific issues related to counseling within (when the client and counselor share the same beliefs) and across (when the client and counselor hold differing beliefs) faith traditions are offered. The chapter concludes with some thoughts regarding future directions of religious and spiritual interventions in counseling and psychotherapy.

Keywords: religion; spirituality; religious counseling; spiritual issues in psychotherapy; religious diversity; religiously accommodative psychotherapy; psychology-clergy collaboration

Article.  11644 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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