How British NHS Clinical Psychologists talk about their experiences of considering spirituality in therapeutic sessions

Prof Doc Thesis

Mulla, Aayesha 2011. How British NHS Clinical Psychologists talk about their experiences of considering spirituality in therapeutic sessions. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsMulla, Aayesha
TypeProf Doc Thesis

A study was carried out to explore how clinical psychologists in the British
National Health Service talk about considering spirituality in therapeutic sessions.
Interest in the relationship between spirituality and psychology has waxed and
waned; from a point of shared origins (Hall, Francis & Callaghan, 2011) to Freud
(1927) and Skinner (1953) seemingly rejecting spirituality. Psychologists gained
a reputation of being dismissive or pathologising of clients' beliefs and of being a
secular profession (Shafranske & Malony, 1990; Patel & Shikonga, 2006). This
view is now being challenged (Smith & Orlinksy, 2004). Towards the end of the
last century interest in the area has increased exponentially (Emmons &
Paloutzian, 2003) showing the potential impact a client's spirituality might have
on their emotional well-being (e.g. Hackney & Sanders, 2003). The difficulty of
terminologies such as 'faith', 'religion' and spirituality' is acknowledged
(Zinnbauer et al, 2001). Twelve British CPs were interviewed about their
experiences of including spirituality in clinical practice. Data were analysed using
Grounded Theory (Charmaz, 2010). Key findings were: including people's
spiritual beliefs in sessions, in formulations and interventions had much positive
value in terms of engagement and outcome; participants felt that there was a
greater need for tolerance, open discussion and more adequate training in
working with people's spiritual beliefs; they encountered negative reactions from
colleagues when discussing spirituality which results in spirituality in clinical
settings not receiving as much attention in team discussions or training courses
as other aspects of clients' lives. Recommendations include improving training
courses pre and post qualification to encourage greater tolerance and sensitivity,
developing CPs greater feelings of competence in working with spirituality in
clinical practice.

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Deposited09 Jun 2014
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