The phrase “spiritual” therapy is so ubiquitous that it has come to mean everything from spiritual counseling to meditation to acupuncture to yoga to spiritual music to yoga classes.
Now a new study is shedding light on the term.
It found that it’s often misunderstood.
It also suggests that the term “spirituality” has become a generic term that doesn’t include a specific practice.
What is a spiritual therapist?
There are two broad categories of practitioners: those who are psychologists, psychiatrists, or therapists who focus on issues of spirituality or spirituality-related conditions and their practitioners; and those who specialize in helping people with other disorders and mental illnesses.
Spiritual therapists work in a range of settings, ranging from residential treatment centers, to hospitals, to churches and religious organizations.
Spiritual counselors are considered the primary provider of spiritual care for people with mental health conditions.
For many years, spiritual therapists and their professional organizations were defined by their emphasis on providing spiritual services, such as guided meditations, prayer, and religious instruction.
However, recent research has shed light on what constitutes spiritual therapy.
For example, a 2009 study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that nearly a third of people surveyed reported receiving spiritual counseling in the past year.
The study also found that most of the respondents reported that they were seeking spiritual guidance for personal problems or that they needed a spiritual connection.
In 2015, the American Psychological Association added a definition of spiritual therapy that includes not only a spiritual practice but also a specific spiritual practice that is offered by a therapist or group of therapists.
Spiritual therapy was also included in the definition of mental health services in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
How many practitioners are there?
The number of practitioners practicing spiritual therapies in the United States has declined dramatically over the past several decades, with the number of licensed practitioners dropping by more than 50% between 2002 and 2010.
In 2014, the number was around 2,200, with 2,000 licensed psychotherapists.
In 2020, that number was 1,200.
The number rose by more the following year, to 2,300, with nearly 2,500 practicing.
What are the benefits of spiritual counseling?
In general, practitioners are often able to help people who have been through difficult times, like depression or anxiety, feel more connected to God and others, and have more hope.
But the benefits are not always immediate.
“When people go through a crisis, you can be the person that helps them and it can be an incredibly powerful thing,” says Laura McDonough, clinical director of the Center for Mindful Care, an addiction treatment center in New York City.
But “when they have no hope whatsoever, they may go into a state of despair and they can go in the direction of drugs or alcohol and they may end up doing that.”
According to a 2010 study in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, a majority of people who responded to a survey reported they experienced negative symptoms when trying to quit smoking.
The majority also reported feeling hopeless and lacking faith in their ability to stop.
In addition, the researchers found that people who reported a greater number of attempts at quitting were more likely to report feeling suicidal, while those who had fewer attempts were more prone to report a greater likelihood of experiencing a crisis.
The authors found that these symptoms are typically associated with the inability to quit, and not only with attempts at abstinence.
According to the researchers, “the fact that they’re having so many attempts at it means that it is not a matter of stopping and going back to the normal state.”
What do spiritual therapists do?
Most spiritual therapists focus on addressing issues of faith, or a sense of spirituality.
This focus can include working with people who are not religious in their life, who are unsure about their own spirituality or who feel they have not been accepted by others.
According the National Association of Spiritual Advisors, spiritual therapy is a safe and effective way to provide psychological counseling.
It focuses on improving people’s ability to think, feel, and act more authentically and authentically.
According a 2016 report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “Spiritual therapy can help people identify the triggers for anxiety and depression, understand the underlying causes of their symptoms, and understand the path to healing.”
What does spirituality mean to you?
According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “God is the only true and living God.
The Bible is the word of God, the Word of Wisdom, and the Holy Ghost.
Jesus Christ is the son of God.
All that is essential and holy in the world is the fruit of the Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit.
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
For more information on spiritual issues, visit www.spiritualhealth.org.