Spiritual counseling focuses on a person’s spiritual side. Someone may seek out spiritual counseling in order to explore or set their own personal spiritual beliefs. Others may seek out the guidance of spiritual counselors when they need help solving other problems in their lives, based on their spiritual beliefs. Individuals who feel as though they are missing their spirituality or those who feel lost in their own spiritual beliefs will often feel lost in life in general. Spiritual counselors can help individuals with most matters related to spirituality and faith.
WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?
Spirituality is generally considered broader than any religion one might practice, as it deems cognitive and philosophic areas of thought and aspects of emotions and behavior. Some might describe spirituality as the attempt to understand one’s nature or the meaning of one’s existence. Still, spirituality is sometimes linked to internal awareness and happiness. For example, it may describe a person’s connection to others and themselves and explain the attention people pay to their well-being and that of others. Prayer, religious meditation, or some other aspect of spiritual connection may form part of an individual’s self-care routine, as might church or volunteer work in the community.
Your counselor is spiritually qualified and trained to deal with the practical challenges of everyday living. This individual has also had professional counseling training but, in most cases, is not a psychologist. Your counselor is here to assist you in seeing your challenge clearly so that you may take appropriate action in alignment with Spiritual Law and Principles. Should you require professional services beyond spiritual counseling, your counselor may provide a list of good counseling services and provide a referral.
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL WELLNESS?
Spirituality and health are connected. Just as physical wellness describes health in the body, spiritual wellness describes health in the spirit. Spiritual wellness can relate to religious beliefs. Some people link their spiritual wellness to the natural world. Others define it by their relationships with others. Still, others may nurture spiritual wellness by living a fulfilling life according to their personal values.
However spiritual wellness is defined, it involves a connection between people and something greater than themselves. This could be a higher power, a person’s own sense of meaning and purpose, or values or belief systems. Emotional and mental health, physical health, and spiritual health are all part of total wellness. The mind and body are connected, so when wellness in one area is lacking, other areas of health might be affected.
People in good spiritual health may:
- Be hopeful and optimistic, even when things are difficult
- Have compassion and empathy for others
- Have defined values and live according to them
- Have a strong sense of self-worth
- Be more able to forgive others and themselves easily
- Feel peaceful or in harmony with nature, life, and the world
- Find solace in meditation or religious rituals like worship and prayer
People struggling with spiritual wellness might:
- Feel empty or as if life lacks meaning
- Often feel anxious or unsettled
- Often feel as if they need to improve themselves
- Feel unconcerned or uncaring about life
- Judge themselves and others quickly and/or harshly
- Find self-compassion and self-forgiveness difficult
- Lack a sense of inner peace
- Lack a sense of belonging
SPIRITUALITY VS. RELIGION
Some people consider spirituality and religion to be similar, if not identical concepts. While they are similar in ways, they aren’t the same. To understand the difference, it can help to think of religion as something that’s practiced and spirituality as something that simply is.
A person’s spirituality doesn’t necessarily depend on how religious they are. One way to think of spirituality is the inner energy in each person. This inner energy is part of who the person is: it might be their beliefs, values, ethics, or anything else that gives life meaning. It might involve activities that help people clarify thoughts and feelings, like journaling, yoga, or meditation.
People who belong to a religious faith often express their spirituality through their connection to their faith. They might feel supported by others who belong to the same faith and draw strength from their beliefs and prayers. But religious faith isn’t necessary for spirituality. It’s possible to draw meaning from life and feel connected to the greater world without practicing religious traditions or even believing in a higher power. Religion and spirituality both relate to mental health. A sense of belonging and connection can help promote resilience and decrease the risk of some mental health concerns.
SPIRITUALITY AND MENTAL HEALTH
Some individuals or families may be deeply committed to their faith and base much of their lives around spirituality or religion. Prayer, religious meditation, or some other aspect of spiritual connection may form part of an individual’s self-care routine, as might church or volunteer work in the community.
Spiritual beliefs can also play a significant role in one’s ability to cope with adverse events in life. Spiritual practices can:
- Provide social and emotional support
- Help people find meaning and purpose in life
- Offer comfort in times of grief
- Provide ethical and moral guidelines by which some choose to live
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THE APPOINTMENT. In response to your request for counseling support, a specific time has been or will be, set aside for your counselor to meet with you so that you may receive his/her undivided attention. The time is valuable to both of you. Your counselor would not schedule this consultation without agreement that the time spent would be constructive. Therefore, it is important for you to be on time, and that your time together is spent as efficiently as possible. Your appointment should be regarded in the same manner as you would an appointment with any other professional. If it is necessary for you to cancel or change the time, please give your counselor aT least 24 hours’ advance notice as possible.
Your counselor is spiritually qualified and trained to deal with the practical challenges of everyday living. This individual has also had professional counseling training, but in most cases, is not a psychologist. The greatest value of your counselor is the ability to help you see your challenge clearly so that you may take appropriate action in alignment with Spiritual Law and Principles to address your need by your own prayerful decision.
Should you require professional services beyond the realm of spiritual counseling, your counselor may provide a list of appropriate counseling services and/or provide a referral.