The Financial Post | August 31, 2018 05:18:10The American Counseling Association, a nonprofit association representing thousands of therapists, religious and spiritual groups, has released a list of the top spiritual counselors across the country.
The ACA has called the list of spiritual counselors a “gold standard” in terms of how to identify and select qualified counselors, and a key component of the organization’s mission statement, which states, “to improve the quality of life for people of all backgrounds, including those who are religious or spiritual.”
According to the ACA’s list, it’s a good idea to ask about your spiritual counselor’s training, professional background and past work experience, and to ask them about the types of counseling they do.
The list also identifies a few specific types of spiritual counseling that are not included on the AACA’s list of certified spiritual counselors.
These include:•Clergy who do not believe in God, are not practicing religious or ethical living, or have been convicted of a sexual offense, sexual assault, or domestic violence offense.•Clersy who practice spiritual healing and/or prayer or who practice a religious faith that is not based in science or science-based psychology.•Mental health therapists who practice psychotherapy, psychotherapy-based psychotherapy or psychotherapy for the purpose of improving mental health, including but not limited to self-care and self-love.•Counselors who have a valid license to practice, including, but not restricted to, licensed therapists who are licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, licensed social workers, and licensed clinical social workers.
According to The ACA, the list is a snapshot of the types and types of counselors in the United States, with a focus on the types who do religious counseling and counselors who practice in private practice.
In addition to the list, the AHA also published a list with specific information about spiritual counselors’ religious practices.
The American Psychological Association (APA), the American Psychological Assn., and the American Academy of Spiritual and Religious Consultants (AASRC) all issued guidance in 2017 that includes information about religious counseling.
APA and AASRC both recommend that religious counselors use their expertise and expertise in the area of psychotherapy and spiritual counseling to help clients and their families.
A few of the guidelines APA, APA’s parent organization, issued in 2017 include:· Spiritual counseling: Spiritual counselors must have experience in psychotherapy with clients, and must be trained in the practice of psychotherapeutic therapy and spiritual healing.· The AHA has defined the following as spiritual counselors who are qualified to practice psychotherapists:•Physicians and psychologists who have specialized training in spiritual healing or prayer;•Psychologists who are certified as psychotherapist-in-training in the field of psychodynamic psychotherapy;•Social workers who are trained to provide a comprehensive and compassionate psychotherapy to individuals with substance use disorders, mental health disorders, or behavioral issues;•Educational therapists who have training in social work and have developed skills in social development, client engagement, and social support.·Clerks who practice religious and/ or spiritual healing as a form of self-help or self-fulfillment, and who practice an authentic spiritual life and faith.·The AHA’s 2017 guidelines also include guidelines for spiritual counseling providers who work outside of their home state.
The APA released guidance in 2016 that also included information on spiritual counselors working in other states.
According the ABA, a spiritual counseling counselor’s qualifications should be determined on the basis of:· A comprehensive assessment of the spiritual counseling practitioner’s experience in the treatment of mental health or substance use problems;· A review of all the clinical evidence available to the practitioner in the diagnosis of mental or substance abuse; and· A thorough assessment of any spiritual healing, healing techniques, or spiritual practice that the practitioner may have used, including:·A clinical assessment of a practitioner’s spiritual background;·A comprehensive review of the psychotherapy practice and spiritual training of the practitioner; andClerk certification requirements, including professional training in psychotheraing, counseling, psychodynamic therapy, and spiritual guidance.
The new list, however, does not cover the majority of practitioners in the country who are spiritual counselors, which include a growing number of people who practice non-religious, non-spiritual, nonreligious and other religious counseling, according to the APA.
The full list of Spiritual Counselors of America can be found here.