Spirituality and Counseling: Is there a connection?
How can spirituality and counseling be related to each other? I believe that there is, indeed, a relationship, and an important one at that!
I am defining spirituality as that part of us which seeks a connection to a power bigger than ourselves. It is that part of us that asks, what exists beyond me, if anything? This question can lead to others, for example, what is most important in life? For what reason am I here? What does it take to have a successful life?
I am respectful of the many different definitions of a higher power. I believe that we are each on our own journey toward spirituality. For me, God is love, and I see expressions of that love everywhere. I was brought up in a church, so that is home to me. I know some find their expressions of a higher power in other houses of worship, nature, or even through meditation.
How does all this relate to counseling concerns?
Many folks come into counseling with problems that are related to childhood abuse or emotional neglect. These injuries can deeply scar us and make us question our self worth. We might long for love from people who can’t give it to us. What can we do? A big part of the answer lies in finding love NOW in our lives. This means finding others who will love us back, as we love them. It really is the only answer to our loneliness; it is the only healing that works.
Those of us who are married know how challenging our relationships can be. All marriages have conflict and some of it is actually unresolvable! Unresolvable conflicts reflect personality differences or differences in basic beliefs, like how children should be raised. Marital love calls us to grow as people in our emotional maturity. No, I can’t always have my way! If we are going to have a happy marriage, we must learn to make room for the other person’s viewpoint.
Lots of folks come to counseling because they are depressed, anxious, or both. Depression sometimes has a message for us, letting us know that we are on the wrong life path and need a new direction. As folks search for that new direction, many ask, how can I contribute to the lives of others? Many times, when we find this, our own lives become richer. Again, love is a key, along with a commitment to something outside of ourselves.
An Anxious World
We live in a very anxious world, with so many things to worry about every day. Our lives are fast paced and we fill them with activities and things. How can we calm and relax ourselves? How can we find peace of mind? As we search for this peace, we may ask ourselves what really are the most important things in life?
Ultimately, it is our participation in loving relationships and knowing that we are making a contribution, whatever that is, to the welfare of others.
So, yes, there is a connection between spirituality and counseling issues. I would be happy to meet about your counseling concerns and to further discuss these perspectives with you.
Linda Schaefer, M.A.