Spirituality in Psychotherapy

How do Psychotherapists Understand, Navigate, Experience and Integrate Spirituality in their Professional Encounters with Clients?

Amalia E.M. Carli | Forthcoming

Spirituality in Psychotherapy

How do Psychotherapists Understand, Navigate, Experience and Integrate Spirituality in their Professional Encounters with Clients?

Amalia E.M. Carli | Forthcoming

ISBN: 9789088909320

Imprint: Sidestone Press Dissertations | Format: 182x257mm | ca. 300 pp. | Language: English | 1 illus. (bw) | Keywords: Psychotherapy; spirituality; thematic analysis. | download cover

Publication date: 22-10-2020

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  • Bookinfo

    ISBN: 9789088909320

    Imprint: Sidestone Press Dissertations | Format: 182x257mm | ca. 300 pp. | Language: English | 1 illus. (bw) | Keywords: Psychotherapy; spirituality; thematic analysis. | download cover

    Publication date: 22-10-2020

We will plant a tree for each order containing a paperback or hardback book via OneTreePlanted.org.

This book explores how Western European psychotherapists, interviewed between 2016 and 2019, understand spirituality and how they address spiritual matters in clinical sessions.

By studying a purposive sample of 15 Clinicians from Spain, England, Switzerland, Greece, Norway and Denmark, it was found that these shared similar views about spirituality, understood as dynamic, fluid and independent from religion. The interviewed psychotherapists showed great variation in their psychotherapy trainings, theoretical background and spiritual stances. However, the participants’ rich narratives illustrate that independently from their personal and professional background they all approached spiritual matters from a client centered, humanistic perspective. Spirituality was often addressed heuristically, integrating different approaches in a creative manner through an array of interventions. Differences in the participants’ religious and cultural background did not appear to determine the clinicians’ views and approaches. Recommendations for practice are discussed, stressing the relevance of implementing a non-materialistic scientific paradigm that acknowledges different personal experiences, as a source of spiritual knowledge. The importance of keeping a non-judgmental perspective and the need to acknowledge views and practices of those considering themselves as spiritual but not religious are also highlighted.

Different audiences may find this book relevant, for instance psychotherapists and those in charge of psychotherapy training programs wishing to integrate a spiritual perspective in clinical work independent from religious doctrines. Likewise, those interested in historical perspectives about the traditional exclusion of spirituality from clinical work as well as the current re-integration of non- dogmatic, fluid spiritual perspectives may find relevant information. The theoretical discussions and methodological explanations could be of interest for those considering to implement thematic analysis or to pursue qualitative studies from a collaborative and reflexive stance.


“This thesis is timely and relevant in the world we live in today where there is an increased interest in spiritualities and the search for meaning that seems missing for many people, sometimes leading to emotional and psychological problems. The challenge this work brings to the field of psychotherapy, both the topic and methodology used, is also pertinent at a time when the work can be dominated and distracted by the demands for results and outcomes being measured. This is a rich and nuanced piece of work that captures the lived experience of psychotherapists who bring to the field a connection with the spiritual within themselves and within their clients/patients. There is a trend in the wider field for this inclusivity in response to a growing recognition of the need.”
- Prof. (em.) Dr. Kim Etherington (University of Bristol)

TABLE OVERVIEW
DEDICATION
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABSTRACTS

SECTION I: INTRODUCING THIS DISSERTATION

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION -RATIONALE AND CONTEXTUALIZATION
Concepts clarification
Starting this journey
How this chapter is organized
Dissertation goals and research question
Rationale and significance of this project
Theories underpinning this dissertation
Qualitative methodology and methods of data generation
Approaching an understanding of spirituality

SECTION II: LITERATURE REVIEW

CHAPTER II: SPIRITUALITY AND RELATED CONSTRUCTS
Re-acknowledging spirituality in secularized societies
Spirit: the breath of life
Spirituality and religion: some differentiations
Spirituality as an evolutionary path

CHAPTER III: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES on SPIRITUALITY AND PSYCHOTHERAPY
Freud’s hostility towards religion
Religion excluded from modernist psychotherapy
Acknowledging the spiritual: Carl Gustav Jung
Some of Jung’s relevant constructs
A non material paradigm in science

CHAPTER IV: A SPIRITUAL REAWAKENING
Research on religion, spirituality and mental health
Integration of spirituality in psychotherapy work
Organizations bridging spirituality and mental health
Therapists’ attitudes influence clinical work

SECTION III: THEORIES, METHODOLOGY AND METHODS

CHAPTER V: THEORETICAL INFLUENCES
A Bricolage approach to qualitative inquiry
Metatheories – theories on what research is about
Towards a postmaterialist view of science
Postmodern perspectives
Reflexivity in collaborative research

CHAPTER VI: METHODOLOGY AND METHODS
Choosing a qualitative research methodology
Methods
The research sample
Introducing the fifteen participants
Table 1- The participants’ Psychotherapeutic Orientation
Table 2 – The participants’ Religious Family Background
Table 3 – The participants’ Spiritual Stance Now
A brief presentation of each participant
Research as an invitation
Data generation: qualitative research interviews
Lines of Inquiry

CHAPTER VII: DATA ANALYSIS, QUALITY STANDARDS AND ETHICAL ISSUES
The analysis process
Addressing quality criteria in this inquiry
Ethical concerns

SECTION IV: REPRESENTING THE GENERATED DATA in THREE CHAPTERS
Representing the generated data
My expectations before starting the study

CHAPTER VIII: FINDINGS-UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUALITY
The Participants’ understanding of Spirituality
Spirituality: fluid and evolving

CHAPTER IX: FINDINGS- NAVIGATING THE SPIRITUAL
Spiritual approaches and the therapist’s orientation
Spiritual interventions independent of client’s expectations
Spiritual needs come from soul, not culture
Therapist’s self-disclosure–or not?
Table 4 – Some of the participants’ interventions

CHAPTER X: FINDINGSINTEGRATING SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES
Personal and professional growth
Table 5 – Personal experiences influencing the therapists’ spiritual views
Spirituality and psychotherapy: blurry boundaries
Ideas about including spirituality in psychotherapy
Signs of a paradigm shift

SECTION V: DISCUSSION OF THE GENERATED FINDINGS

CHAPTER XI: DISCUSSIONUNDERSTANDING SPIRITUALITY
Acknowledging spirituality as a flexible concept
Personal sources of spiritual knowledge
Reflections on the participants’ spiritual understanding

CHAPTER XII: DISCUSSION- NAVIGATING SPIRITUAL ISSUES IN SESSIONS
A bricolage of interventions
A globalized, non-local psychotherapy culture
Openness to a spirituality within psychotherapy
Jung inspired understanding
Addressing new spiritual expressions

CHAPTER XIII: DISCUSSION- INTEGRATING SPIRITUALITY and CRITICAL REMARKS
Experiencing and integrating spirituality
Critical perspectives and power issues
Reflections about the participants’ contributions
An autoethnographic reflection

SECTION VI: IMPLICATIONS AND EVALUATION

CHAPTER XIV: PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS and EVALUATION of the INQUIRY
Suggestions for practice
Main premises suggested to consider in psychotherapy
Limitations of this study
Directions for further research
E-valuation of the dissertation work

BIBLIOGRAPHY

APPENDICES
Appendix 1: Letter of Information and Consent
Appendix 2: Lines of Inquiry
Appendix 3: Example of interview follow Up
Appendix 4: Excerpts from the reflexive journal

Dr. Amalia E.M. Carli

Amalia E. M. Carli was born in Argentina but lives in Norway where she graduated as a psychologist in 1986 and is a member of the Norwegian Psychological Association and the Institutt for Psykoterapi. She has a clinical specialization in children and youth psychology and specialization in intensive psychotherapy with adults. Amalia received her PhD in Psychology from the University Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Spain in 2019.

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Abstract:

This book explores how Western European psychotherapists, interviewed between 2016 and 2019, understand spirituality and how they address spiritual matters in clinical sessions.

By studying a purposive sample of 15 Clinicians from Spain, England, Switzerland, Greece, Norway and Denmark, it was found that these shared similar views about spirituality, understood as dynamic, fluid and independent from religion. The interviewed psychotherapists showed great variation in their psychotherapy trainings, theoretical background and spiritual stances. However, the participants’ rich narratives illustrate that independently from their personal and professional background they all approached spiritual matters from a client centered, humanistic perspective. Spirituality was often addressed heuristically, integrating different approaches in a creative manner through an array of interventions. Differences in the participants’ religious and cultural background did not appear to determine the clinicians’ views and approaches. Recommendations for practice are discussed, stressing the relevance of implementing a non-materialistic scientific paradigm that acknowledges different personal experiences, as a source of spiritual knowledge. The importance of keeping a non-judgmental perspective and the need to acknowledge views and practices of those considering themselves as spiritual but not religious are also highlighted.

Different audiences may find this book relevant, for instance psychotherapists and those in charge of psychotherapy training programs wishing to integrate a spiritual perspective in clinical work independent from religious doctrines. Likewise, those interested in historical perspectives about the traditional exclusion of spirituality from clinical work as well as the current re-integration of non- dogmatic, fluid spiritual perspectives may find relevant information. The theoretical discussions and methodological explanations could be of interest for those considering to implement thematic analysis or to pursue qualitative studies from a collaborative and reflexive stance.


“This thesis is timely and relevant in the world we live in today where there is an increased interest in spiritualities and the search for meaning that seems missing for many people, sometimes leading to emotional and psychological problems. The challenge this work brings to the field of psychotherapy, both the topic and methodology used, is also pertinent at a time when the work can be dominated and distracted by the demands for results and outcomes being measured. This is a rich and nuanced piece of work that captures the lived experience of psychotherapists who bring to the field a connection with the spiritual within themselves and within their clients/patients. There is a trend in the wider field for this inclusivity in response to a growing recognition of the need.”
- Prof. (em.) Dr. Kim Etherington (University of Bristol)

Contents

TABLE OVERVIEW
DEDICATION
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABSTRACTS

SECTION I: INTRODUCING THIS DISSERTATION

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION -RATIONALE AND CONTEXTUALIZATION
Concepts clarification
Starting this journey
How this chapter is organized
Dissertation goals and research question
Rationale and significance of this project
Theories underpinning this dissertation
Qualitative methodology and methods of data generation
Approaching an understanding of spirituality

SECTION II: LITERATURE REVIEW

CHAPTER II: SPIRITUALITY AND RELATED CONSTRUCTS
Re-acknowledging spirituality in secularized societies
Spirit: the breath of life
Spirituality and religion: some differentiations
Spirituality as an evolutionary path

CHAPTER III: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES on SPIRITUALITY AND PSYCHOTHERAPY
Freud’s hostility towards religion
Religion excluded from modernist psychotherapy
Acknowledging the spiritual: Carl Gustav Jung
Some of Jung’s relevant constructs
A non material paradigm in science

CHAPTER IV: A SPIRITUAL REAWAKENING
Research on religion, spirituality and mental health
Integration of spirituality in psychotherapy work
Organizations bridging spirituality and mental health
Therapists’ attitudes influence clinical work

SECTION III: THEORIES, METHODOLOGY AND METHODS

CHAPTER V: THEORETICAL INFLUENCES
A Bricolage approach to qualitative inquiry
Metatheories – theories on what research is about
Towards a postmaterialist view of science
Postmodern perspectives
Reflexivity in collaborative research

CHAPTER VI: METHODOLOGY AND METHODS
Choosing a qualitative research methodology
Methods
The research sample
Introducing the fifteen participants
Table 1- The participants’ Psychotherapeutic Orientation
Table 2 – The participants’ Religious Family Background
Table 3 – The participants’ Spiritual Stance Now
A brief presentation of each participant
Research as an invitation
Data generation: qualitative research interviews
Lines of Inquiry

CHAPTER VII: DATA ANALYSIS, QUALITY STANDARDS AND ETHICAL ISSUES
The analysis process
Addressing quality criteria in this inquiry
Ethical concerns

SECTION IV: REPRESENTING THE GENERATED DATA in THREE CHAPTERS
Representing the generated data
My expectations before starting the study

CHAPTER VIII: FINDINGS-UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUALITY
The Participants’ understanding of Spirituality
Spirituality: fluid and evolving

CHAPTER IX: FINDINGS- NAVIGATING THE SPIRITUAL
Spiritual approaches and the therapist’s orientation
Spiritual interventions independent of client’s expectations
Spiritual needs come from soul, not culture
Therapist’s self-disclosure–or not?
Table 4 – Some of the participants’ interventions

CHAPTER X: FINDINGSINTEGRATING SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES
Personal and professional growth
Table 5 – Personal experiences influencing the therapists’ spiritual views
Spirituality and psychotherapy: blurry boundaries
Ideas about including spirituality in psychotherapy
Signs of a paradigm shift

SECTION V: DISCUSSION OF THE GENERATED FINDINGS

CHAPTER XI: DISCUSSIONUNDERSTANDING SPIRITUALITY
Acknowledging spirituality as a flexible concept
Personal sources of spiritual knowledge
Reflections on the participants’ spiritual understanding

CHAPTER XII: DISCUSSION- NAVIGATING SPIRITUAL ISSUES IN SESSIONS
A bricolage of interventions
A globalized, non-local psychotherapy culture
Openness to a spirituality within psychotherapy
Jung inspired understanding
Addressing new spiritual expressions

CHAPTER XIII: DISCUSSION- INTEGRATING SPIRITUALITY and CRITICAL REMARKS
Experiencing and integrating spirituality
Critical perspectives and power issues
Reflections about the participants’ contributions
An autoethnographic reflection

SECTION VI: IMPLICATIONS AND EVALUATION

CHAPTER XIV: PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS and EVALUATION of the INQUIRY
Suggestions for practice
Main premises suggested to consider in psychotherapy
Limitations of this study
Directions for further research
E-valuation of the dissertation work

BIBLIOGRAPHY

APPENDICES
Appendix 1: Letter of Information and Consent
Appendix 2: Lines of Inquiry
Appendix 3: Example of interview follow Up
Appendix 4: Excerpts from the reflexive journal

Dr. Amalia E.M. Carli

Amalia E. M. Carli was born in Argentina but lives in Norway where she graduated as a psychologist in 1986 and is a member of the Norwegian Psychological Association and the Institutt for Psykoterapi. She has a clinical specialization in children and youth psychology and specialization in intensive psychotherapy with adults. Amalia received her PhD in Psychology from the University Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Spain in 2019.

read more










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