Including Spirituality in CTP

Title:  Spirituality: Including This Area of Diversity into Counselor Training Programs


Faculty Member:  Nancy J. Carbonell, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Board Certified Counselor

Keywords:  diversity, religion, spirituality, counselor, counselor training, counselor education, multicultural issues

Areas: counseling, multicultural issues, diversity training, counselor education programs

Summary: Often when one speaks of multicultural issues, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and studying the cultures from around the world come to mind.  One area that frequently gets little attention, and even is ignored in many counselor education programs, is the multicultural issue of Spirituality.  A person’s spiritual views, none the less, are extremely important when assessing a client’s worldview, traditions, belief systems, support systems, and values.  Our spiritual beliefs can influence what one does on their free time, how one dresses, what one eats, how one treats others, family expectations, how one celebrates certain holidays, one’s political views, who one marries, and on and on.   So then, why have counselor educators been slow to include it in the curriculum?  Do not our communities have the need or the right to expect that clients will be able to have integrated into their treatment plan their personal spiritual beliefs, values and worldviews?

Preparing mental health professionals to be competent in addressing the multicultural issues that their clients present themselves with is a major issue for me.  For this reason, I am interested in addressing how to integrate issues of spirituality into the counselor education program.  How can counselors become more competent in dealing with the spiritual dimension in counseling?   How can they be better prepared on an important area of diversity that is often left unexplored.  What methods would be helpful to use?  What should the training involve?  Are other programs doing it?  How and what are they doing it?   If you are interested in further participating in research in this area, please submit your proposal for further consideration.

Three articles I would recommend you read to introduce you to this area are: (Click on an article to review it.)

Young, J. S., Cashwell, C., Wiggins-Frame, M., and Belaire, C. (2002).  Spiritual and Religious Competencies: A National Survey of CACREP-Accredited Programs.   Counseling and Values 47 no1 22-33.

Hage, S. M., Hopson, A., Siegel, M., Payton, G., and DeFanti, E. (2006).  Multicultural Training in Spirituality: An Interdisciplinary Review.  Counseling and Values 50 no3 217-34.

Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC). (2009). Competencies for addressing spiritual and religion issues in counseling. Arlington, VA: Author. Retrieved from ASERVIC website: