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Spirituality: Purpose, Acceptance, and Meaning (Chapter 8)

Spirituality: Purpose, Acceptance, and Meaning (Chapter 8). Objectives for this chapter. Recognize spirituality as an element in human experience. Describe relational manifestations of spirituality. Explain the relationship impact of spiritual experiences, beliefs, and practices.

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Spirituality: Purpose, Acceptance, and Meaning (Chapter 8)

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  1. Spirituality: Purpose, Acceptance, and Meaning (Chapter 8)

  2. Objectives for this chapter • Recognize spirituality as an element in human experience. • Describe relational manifestations of spirituality. • Explain the relationship impact of spiritual experiences, beliefs, and practices. • Describe and explain commonly accepted spiritual practices and beliefs. • Select, plan, and implement spirituality-oriented couple and family interventions appropriate to treatment goals.

  3. Introduction • Spiritual theories and practices emphasize a spiritual dimension in relationships • Spiritual and religious traditions were helping couples and families long before “professionals” existed • The past few years have seen a tremendous surge in professional interest in spirituality

  4. A Case Illustration: The Aldrich Family This case shows a family in spiritual crisis, seeking a way to live with their history.

  5. The situation at intake • Bill had been emotionally and abusive to Melissa and, eventually, to his two sons Sam and Willie, until his religious conversion a year ago • Though Melissa had forgiven him, the two adult sons had strained relationships with their father • Sam was working for Bill, but Willie would not come to the family home or speak to anyone except his mother • Melissa wanted to reunite her family

  6. Involving a higher power • In the first family session, Bill invited Dr. Walker and his family to pray with him • Through prayer, discussions, and contemplation, Bill developed a plan to orient his life and his relationships toward spiritual activity and contemplation • Family resistance gradually decreased and family members began to work together toward effective solutions as Bill retired • Eventually diagnosed with cancer, Bill died in peace

  7. Spiritual changes • Having embarked on a spiritual journey, Bill was able to share the process with his family • The concept of forgiveness became a family theme, and family members “turned their resentments over to a higher power” • Bill’s spiritual growth helped him to hear others and work with their feelings and needs • Shared values and goals helped the family with decision-making

  8. Theory and Research Spirituality involves transcendence— reaching beyond ourselves for meaning and purpose

  9. Contexts of religion and spirituality • Positive and negative views of religion • Social climate and spirituality (growth) • Religion, spirituality, and diversity (change) • Spirituality and culture (language, practices, places) • Belief systems (theistic, atheistic)

  10. Spirituality and relational well-being • Shared beliefs (e.g. forgiveness) • Shared centers of value and power (SCVP) (see next slide) • Individual and family experiences of transcendence • Individual spiritual development

  11. Relationship triangle with a higher power (Fowler)

  12. Absolute love Connectedness Cyclical change, harmony, and fluidity The divine Morality, virtue, andethics Pain and suffering Purpose Relinquishment and acceptance Soul and spirit Spiritual themes

  13. Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (1 through 6) 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

  14. Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (8 through 12) 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

  15. Spirituality and relationships • Shared preparation • Shared meditation and prayer • Shared experiences of spiritual connection • Shared sense-making • Shared commitment and renewal

  16. The Process of Counseling with Couples and Families Spiritual issues may be addressed in many ways by the professional

  17. Engaging: making space for the spirit • Suspending judgment • Hearing the clients’ language • Entering their experiential world

  18. Conducting a dynamic assessment • Spiritual genogram • Spiritual ecomap • Spiritual narratives • Spirituality questionnaire • Nonverbal assessment

  19. Intervening • Instrumental, Ethnosensitivity • Instrumental, Beliefs/Themes • Instrumental, Religious/Spiritual Practices • Rituals and celebrations • Metaphysical

  20. Levels of spiritual discussion (from Doherty) 1. Acknowledge the client’s spontaneous statements of spiritual belief. 2. Inquire about the client’s spiritual beliefs and practices. 3. Inquire about how the client connects the spiritual, clinical, and moral dimensions of his or her life or problems. 4. Express agreement with the client’s spiritual beliefs or sensibilities when such self-disclosure could be therapeutic. 5. Articulate the client’s dilemma without giving your own position. 6. Point out the contradictions between the client’s spiritual beliefs, or between spiritual beliefs and clinical realities or moral issues. 7. Challenge the client’s way of handling spiritual beliefs on the basis of your own spiritual beliefs, your moral beliefs, or your clinical beliefs.

  21. Spiritual healing (from Becvar) (Principles 1 through 6) • There is a continuous interplay between our thoughts, emotions, and our physical and emotional state of health and well-being. • Each of us is primary responsibility for our live and thus for our health. • Since the mind and the emotions play a large part in the creation of disease, they also can be employed in the healing process. • The body/mind has an intelligence of its own. Each cell has the wisdom and inclination to carry out its particular function, which may be negatively or positively influenced consistent with the messages received. • The body/mind speaks to us and can be our teacher if we are willing to learn. Pain, discomfort, and disease provide information about conflict and disharmony. • It is important to consider the symptoms of illness at a variety of levels, including the mental, the physical, the emotional and the spiritual/soul levels.

  22. Spiritual healing (from Becvar) (Principles 7 through 10) • The inner self, or the self at the spiritual/soul level, is always seeking to grow. • Harmony and the reduction or elimination of conflict are facilitated by desire, by a willingness actively to pursue these states, and by self-awareness. • What appears to be an illness many actually be the necessary by[product of a deeper level of healing. As we heal holistically, we go through periods of detoxification that may be experienced as temporary discomfort. • Each of us knows his or her body/mind better than anyone else. By learning to listen within, we also become our own greatest healers.

  23. Assessing effectiveness • Subjective reports • Stories • Expect slow and inconsistent progress

  24. Closure • Clients decide when they are ready to end the process but doubts about readiness are common • Gradual “weaning” • Followup sessions • Accepting powerlessness and chance

  25. Cautions, concerns, and new directions • Opposition from agencies, funding sources, and some clients • Values conflicts between clients and professionals

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