Spiritual Competencies for Psychotherapists and Mental Health Workers


 A vital aspect of our work at IONS is helping key institutions integrate research findings on ways that consciousness matters in people's lives. We are currently working on an initiative to introduce spiritual and religious competencies into the training of psychotherapists.

Religion and spirituality have been empirically linked to a number of psychological health and well-being outcomes, and there is evidence that when dealing with a serious problem, two thirds of Americans prefer a psychotherapist with spiritual values. Most psychotherapists currently receive little or no training in working with religious and spiritual issues, in part because no specific training guidelines exist.

To address this issue, IONS President Cassandra Vieten, PhD, has been working with colleagues to develop a proposed set of spiritual and religious competencies for psychologists. A paper on this project was just published in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, a journal of the American Psychological Association.

Last week the American Psychological Association held its annual conference of over 10,000 psychologists in Honolulu, Hawaii. One of the researchers on this project, Shelley Scammell, PsyD, of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology, attended the conference to gather additional information from licensed psychologists through a survey. We have created a mirror copy of this survey that we are offering for you to take online if you are a psychologist or mental health professional. Find the survey here.

We're also thrilled to announce that a new book on spiritual competencies for psychologists and mental health professionals, authored by Cassandra Vieten, PhD, and Shelley Scammell, PsyD, is currently in development.

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