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Spiritual and religious diversity: Implications for counselor education programs

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Sharon R Gough
Abstract:
The Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVC) identifies 9 core competencies for integrating spirituality/religion into practice. Previous research indicates that some mental health professionals have experienced discomfort when considering the balance between religious ideology (RI) and scientific orientation (SO) in their practice. However, no research exists assessing this potential for cognitive dissonance among mental health professionals nor has there been a test of the relative influence of RI/SO on approval of ASERVC competency integration into counselor training. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study was first to assess RI/SO cognitive dissonance and, second, to test RI/SO relative to ASERVC competency integration. The Religious Ideology, Scientific Orientation, Conflict Questionnaire and Core Competency Questionnaire was administered to a random sample of American Psychological Association and American Counseling Association professionals. The results from t tests revealed a significant difference in cognitive dissonance with higher scores on both RI/SO associated with greater dissonance. Multiple regression analysis revealed neither RI nor SO predict competency approval. Findings suggest an important social-change implication: Counselors may not perceive a conflict between RI and SO and, therefore, may be willing to accept the integration of the ASERVC competencies into their training. Implications also include changes in curricular requirements within academic programs that train counselors, social workers, and psychologists to integrate these competencies; considerations for ethical guidelines addressing religious and spiritual diversity; and the development of continuing education coursework pertaining to spiritual and religious diversity competencies.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................ VI LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ VIII CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY ..........................................................1 Preface …………………………………………………………………………............1 Introduction .....................................................................................................................1 Background …………………………………………………………… ..........……….2 Problem Statement……...……...……………………………………………..… ......... 6 Purpose of the Study ……………………………………………………………..8 Research Questions and Hypotheses …………………………………………..…9 Definitions of Theoretical Constructs ……………………………………………10 Definition of Terms …...…………………………………………………….………. 11 Significance ………………………………………...………………………………...16 Assumptions and Limitations ……………………………………………………17 Summary ……………………………………………………………………………18

CHAPTER 2: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ……………………………22

Introduction …………………………………………………………………………..22 Background…………………………………………………………………………...22 Historical Context ……………………………………………………………………27 The Relationship Between Spirituality, Religion, and Mental Health ……………28 Theoretical Basis for Spiritual Seeking as a Human Dimension ……………………33 Theories of Spiritual Identity and Development ……………………………………42 The Importance of Integrating Spiritual and Religious Diversity into the Mental Health Professional, Education, and Supervision Process……………………………55 Review of Interventions for Counseling Educators ……………………………65 Concerns About the Prominence of Spirituality and Religion in Mental Health Counseling ................................................................................................................69 Psychological Interventions That Disrupt Spiritual or Religious Functioning ...........……………………………………………………………………74 Religious and Spiritual Experiences of Mental Health Professionals ......……………75 Dissonance Among Mental Health Professionals .……………………………………79 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………84

CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHOD……………………………………………….…87 Introduction……………………...……………………………………………………87 Research Design …………………………………………………………………...87 Setting and Sample ……………………………………………...………………...…90 Instrumentation and Materials……………………...…………………………….…..91 Data Collection and Analysis ……………………………….………………………..94

iv Protection of Participants' Rights and Ethical Assurances ...………………...………96

CHAPTER 4: RESULTS .……………………………………………………………….96 Introduction .…………………………………………………………………………..96 Research Tools..…………………………………………………………………….....96 Data Analysis .…………………………………………………………………….......97 Descriptive Statistics..…………………………………………………………………99 Inferential Statistics …………………………………………………………………110 Multiple Regression Analysis .………………………………………………………110 Summary of Results.…………………………………………………………………114

CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS………117 Discussion…..………………………………………………………………………117 Implications ………………….……………………………………………..……....119 Limitations and Further Considerations…………………………………………….122 Implications for Social Change ………………….…………………...………….....123 Conclusions ………………………………………………………………………...125

REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………………128

APPENDIX A: HISTORICAL CONTEXT FOR THE INTEGRATION OF SPIRITUAL SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY INTO COUNSELOR EDUCATION PROGRAMS…………………………………………………………...159

APPENDIX B: CONSENT FORM ………………………………………………..…167

APPENDIX C: GENERAL SURVEY INSTRUCTIONS ………………………......170

APPENDIX D: CORE COMPETENCIES QUESTIONNAIRE (CCQ) ……………...171

APPENDIX E: RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY, SCIENTIFIC ORIENTATION, AND CONFLICT QUESTIONNAIRE (RISOCQ).………………………………………….174

APPENDIX F: RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY, SCIENTIFIC ORIENTATION, AND CONFLICT QUESTIONNAIRE-DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS TABULATION….. 177

APPENDIX G: TABLES PREDICTING ASERVIC CORE COMPETENCIES APPROVAL …………………………………………………………………………...182

APPENDIX H: COMPETENCIES FOR ADDRESSING SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS ISSUES IN COUNSELING……………………………………………..195

APPENDIX I: PERMISSION EMAIL FROM DR EDWARD SHAFRANSKE …….197

v CURRICULUM VITAE ……………………………………………………….198

vi LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Distribution of the Ages of the Respondents …………………………………100

Table 2. Ethnic Groups of the Respondents …………………………………………..101

Table 3. Geographic Locations of the Respondents..…………………………………. 101

Table 4. Degree Held by Respondents (Qualifications) ……………………………….102

Table 5. Years of Clinical Practice of the Respondents ……………………………….102

Table 6. Work Setting of the Respondents …………………………………………….103

Table 7. Theoretical Orientation of the Respondents ………………………………….104

Table 8. Religious Affiliation of the Respondents ……………………………………..104

Table 9. Comparison of Cognitive Dissonance for Two Groups of Respondents ……109

Table 10. Power Analysis to Compute the Minimum Sample Sizes for Independent Samples t Tests……………………………………………………………………....110

Table 11. Results of MLR to Predict Approval of Core Competency using Scientific Orientation and Religious Ideology as Predictor Variable ………………….....111

Table A1. Religious Adherence by Americans and Worldwide……………………….159

Table G1. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 1:“Explain the difference between religion and spirituality, including similarities and differences”……………………………………………………………………..182

Table G2. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 2: “Describe religious and spiritual beliefs and practices in a cultural context” …………….183 Table G3. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 3: “Engage in self-exploration of religious and spiritual beliefs in order to increase sensitivity, understanding and acceptance of diverse belief systems” ……………………...184

vii Table G4. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 4: “Describe your religious and/or spiritual belief system and explain various models of religious or spiritual development across the lifespan”……………………...……..186 Table G5. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 5: “Demonstrate sensitivity and acceptance of a variety of religious and/or spiritual expressions in client communications"…….……………………………………187 Table G6. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 6: “Identify limits of your understanding of a client’s religious or spiritual expression, and demonstrate appropriate referral skills and generate possible referral sources”...188 Table G7. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 7: “Assess the relevance of the religious and/or spiritual domains in the client’s therapeutic process”………………………………………………………………………….190 Table G8. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 8: “Be sensitive to and receptive of religious and/or spiritual themes in the counseling process as befits the expressed preference of each client”……………………...191 Table G9. Results of Stepwise MLR to predict Core Competency Variable 9: “Use a client’s religious and/or spiritual beliefs in the pursuit of the client’s therapeutic goals as befits the client’s expressed preference”……………………………….193

viii

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Mean responses to the religious ideology and scientific orientation scales….106 Figure 2. Relative frequency distributions of the response variable Conflict 2…….…..107 Figure 3. Relative frequency distributions of the response variable Conflict 3 ..………108 Figure 4. Relative frequency distributions of the response variable Conflict 6..………108 Figure 5. Distribution of residuals ……………………………………………………..113 Figure 6. Frequency distribution of residuals…... ……………………………………..113

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY PREFACE William James, often referred to as the Father of American Psychology, cautioned against the tendency to separate religion and the study of human behavior. In his lecture entitled “Religion and Neurology” delivered in 1902, James discussed the undermining of spiritual experiences by the “too simple-minded system of thought” he referred to as “medical materialism” (James, 1902, p. 11). As a scientist, James spent most of his life investigating the claims of religious believers and sharing his conviction that spiritual experiences ought not to be explained as pathology, but rather as something mystical that causes real effects. Through his research, James (1902) concluded that “prayer or inner communion with the spirit thereof – be that spirit ‘God’ or ‘law’– is a process wherein work is really done, and spiritual energy flows in and produces effects, psychological or material, within the phenomenal world.” (p. 359). Introduction A century ago James (1902) was documenting the effects of spiritual experiences in an effort to understand the relationship between the sacred and scientific psychology. Today researchers continue to examine the transcendent or spiritual states of consciousness within the framework of psychological science. Spiritual issues in psychotherapy are evolving into an integral form of spirituality embraced by an ever widening array of disciplines (Koenig, 2005; Wilber, 2000, 2005). As such, the process of integrating spirituality and religion into the counseling profession involves a variety of diversity issues (Hoffman, Cox, Ervin-Cox, & Mitchell, 2005).

2 Counseling psychology acknowledges spirituality and religion as an aspect of cultural diversity (American Counseling Association, 2005; American Psychological Association, 2002. 2003; Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, 2001). Contemporary society is composed of a variety of different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic levels, and religions (Hage, Hopson, Siegel, Payton, & DeFanti, 2006; Henriksen & Trusty, 2005; Singh, 2007; Sue, Bingham, Porche-Burke, & Vasquez, 1999). Diversity- competent counselors, counselor educators, and supervisors are essential if the profession is to keep pace with an ever broadening diverse client population. To accomplish this goal, the creation of specific requirements to provide both faculty and students in psychology training programs with curriculum designed to enhance spiritually and religiously diverse topics in counseling is needed (Burke et al., 1999; Cashwell & Young, 2004; Hage et al., 2006; Kelly, 1994; Miller, G., 1999; Myers & Willard, 2003; Pate & High, 1995). Background The relationship between spirituality, religious practices, and positive physical and mental health is evident (Kabat-Zinn, 2005; Miller & Thoresen, 2003). Koenig, McCullough, and Larson (2000) have documented how spirituality has been studied scientifically with well-established instruments demonstrating a clear link between positive health and spiritual practices (see also Hill & Pargament, 2003). This link will be further articulated in chapter 2. The popular press and peer-reviewed psychological journals are filled with research and reviews of the mind-body-spirit connection and the

3 role of spirituality and religion in maintaining positive mental and physical wellness. This abundance of literature is in part developments in the medical community demonstrating the connection between health, healing, and various religious and spiritual practices, including prayer and mindfulness meditation (Kabat-Zinn, 1990, 1994, 2005; Koenig, 2005; Pert, 1997; Sarno, 2006; Schwartz & Begley, 2002). Scientific evidence is affirming what spirituality researchers have been claiming for decades: faith-integrated counseling identifies multiple ways clients may actually promote health and well-being through religious and spiritual practices (Bergin, 1980, 1983, 1990; Benor, 2001; Cox, Ervin-Cox, & Hoffman, 2005; Hill & Pargament, 2003; Kass et al., 1991; Koenig, McCollough, & Larson, 2001; Koenig, 2005). The Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society/Gallup Spiritual State of the Union recently revealed that faith and spirit guide the lives of three out of four American adults (University of Pennsylvania, 2003). Among the study’s findings was a strong indication that the majority of Americans report an active inner life, a connection with God, divine will, or higher power. Similar findings have been established in the United Kingdom (Heelas & Woodhead, 2005) and China (Coe, 2007). Spirituality is increasingly understood as a developmental process. A review of the early (James, 1901; Jung, 1930), contemporary (Erikson, 1963; Fowler, 1981, 1991; Maslow, 1970; Rogers, 1960), and current theorists (Grof, 2001; Wilber, 2001, 2006) demonstrate an interdisciplinary searching for the psychology of spiritual development. These theories will be examined more closely in chapter 2. Understanding emotional crisis as a potentially transformative event leading to higher levels of spiritual awareness and psychological functioning is an ethical imperative. Bergin (1980)

4 expressed the dangers associated with inadequately prepared therapists promoting change not valued by the client or the community as “unethical or subversive” (p. 97). Current counselor education programs address spirituality and religion briefly under the multicultural competency standards of accreditation organizations (CACREP, 2001). This research will build on the growing consensus that the ethical practice of counseling psychology requires appropriate attention and training to the diversity of spirituality and religion as they pertain to psychological health. Historically, spiritual health and wellness has been viewed as “intangible or unteachable” and in many areas continues to be viewed as “an inappropriate domain for health educators and counselors” (Chandler, Holden, & Kolander, 1992, p. 168). During the latter part of the 20 th century, the emergence of spirituality, religion and health research has demonstrated the powerful and predictive relationships between these variables (Miller & Thoresen, 2003). While the foundations of psychology lie in the philosophy of the ancient Greeks, the science of psychology has pulled away from explanations of self knowledge and the soul as the central guiding force behind mystical searching for answers to life’s experiences and events. Burke and Miranti (1995) have argued that psychology has been forced to omit the spiritual dimension because it cannot be scientifically measured. However, scores of researchers have investigated the spiritual and religious factors associated with wellness and have substantiated, with empirical soundness, the benefits and clinical rationale of minding the spiritual in counseling psychology (Bellamy et al., 2007; Hill & Pargament, 2003; Hodges, 2002; Koenig, 2005; Koenig, McCollough & Larson, 2001; Kohls & Walach, 2007; Larson & Larson, 2003;

5 Lukoff, 2007; Miller, 1998; Miller & Thoresen, 2003; Nelson, 1994; Pargament, 1997; Pargament, Murray-Swank, & Tarakeshwar, 2005; Pargament & Saunders, 2007; Sorenson, 2004; Walker et al., 2005; Weaver et al., 2006; Zinnbauer & Pargament, 2000). Leading researchers have articulated their concerns that unless the counseling profession compels training programs to implement educational experiences designed to develop practitioners’ awareness of their own spiritual and religious subjectivity we may be hindering therapist development and the long-term effectiveness of the counseling profession (Griffith & Griffith, 2002; Sorenson, 2004; Zinnbauer & Pargament, 2000). While it is true that “religion and spirituality certainly have been a source of intolerance, bigotry, and xenophobia” (Sorenson, 2004, p. 25), it is also true that contemporary psychology is struggling to integrate spirituality, science, and mental health (Bourget, 2002) in an effort to bring back the sacred and the mystical spiritual traditions of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful articulated by the ancient Greek philosophies (Wilber, 2000). It has been previously noted the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC), a division of the American Counseling Association, developed nine competencies in an effort to safeguard client welfare when responding to clients’ spiritual issues (Miller, G., 1999). The guidelines provided that adequate mental health practitioner preparation is one which includes a comprehensive overview of the cultural similarities and differences in religion and in spiritual practices as well as an examination of the developmental stages of spiritual emergence across the lifespan. A significant consideration is for building awareness of the clinician’s potential bias of his

6 or her own views regarding spirituality and spiritual development. Another consideration involves the ethical issues in developing and providing curriculum designed to address the issues of spiritual and religious diversity in training programs. Miller (1999) asserts the proposed changes to CACREP standards would result in very specific concerns. Those concerns will be reviewed in chapter 2. In addition, spiritual assessment and the role of spirituality on the client’s ability to cope will be addressed, and finally there will be an examination of the paradigm shift that is taking place among mental health professionals. This research will contribute to ASERVIC’s efforts to advance the field of psychology and to contribute to the growing body of literature promoting the necessary awareness for social change pertaining to the education and supervision of mental health professional in training programs regarding the role of spirituality and religion in therapy. Problem Statement Research demonstrates support for the integration of spiritual and religious diversity training in the preparation of practitioners and in their supervision; however, only a minority of counselor education programs include this type of training. Research also identifies various barriers to inclusion of this type of training, such as, concerns related to the imposition of counselor values and beliefs (Henriksen & Trusty, 2005; Plante, 2007; Steens, Engles, & Thweatt, 2006), the limitations of secular educational institutions associated with funding issues (Pate & Hall, 2005), and increased emphasis on teaching counselors in training evidenced-based techniques as managed care dictate (Sexton, 2000).

7 Bergin (1983) called awareness to the renewed interest and activity between psychology and religion and noted “old controversies” were beginning to resurface with new terms (p. 170). Shafranske and Malony (1985) were among the first to survey psychologists regarding their religious and spiritual orientations. These findings and the results of replications of the early studies will be thoroughly reviewed in chapter 2. Suffice to note here that the genesis for this study can be located in the early research associated with the struggle some mental health professionals have experienced over the years regarding the “alienation of therapeutic psychology from religious (and spiritual) values” (Bergin, 1980, p. 95). The dissonance evident in recent studies investigating the religiosity and spirituality of mental health professionals suggests this struggle is, in part, a result of the paradigm shift away from rigid, scientific ideologies that have dominated psychology in the past (Bathgate, 2003; Robertson, 2007; West, 2007; Wilber, 2000, 2006). This study adds to the psychological research that exists on integrating content related to spirituality and religion into the educational curriculum of the mental health professional by identifying the level of consensus among these professionals for increasing spiritual and religious diversity competencies. It considers developmental theories and stages of faith development evident in all major world religions and belief systems. Spiritual and religious issues are an integral part of human growth and development across individuals and cultures. As such, the potential impact of neglecting spirituality-related issues in psychotherapy was examined. As a secondary issue, this study seeks to better understand the spiritual and religious dimension of human functioning, including that of the mental health

8 professional. It has been noted above that the behavioral sciences have been undergoing a paradigm shift in that, when surveyed, mental health professionals are increasingly reflecting the conceptual distinction between religion (identified as institutional) and spirituality (identified as personal). This research examines whether or not a discrepancy exists between psychology professionals’ endorsement of their own religious ideology, scientific orientation, and their beliefs that the integration of spirituality and religion are beneficial to the mental health of the client and to the field of psychology in general. These issues are examined using Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory, specifically the degrees of dissonance between these cognitions are explored in chapter 2. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is two-fold, first, to assess cognitive dissonance, as measured by the conflict scale (the dependent variable), by comparing those who score higher versus lower on both religious ideology and scientific orientation (the independent variable). Data were gathered using the Religious Ideology, Scientific Orientation, and Conflict Questionnaire (Eckhardt et al., 1992). This was evaluated using an independent groups t test. Second, this study quantitatively examined the relative influence of religious ideology and/or scientific orientation on American Psychological Association (APA) and American Counseling Association (ACA) members’ approval of integrating the ASERVIC core competencies into mental health professional training programs. By means of a multiple regression, the two predictor variables (religious ideology and scientific orientation) were used simultaneously to examine respondents’ level of approval of the core competencies.

9

Research Questions and Hypotheses The following research questions and hypotheses have been derived from a review of existing literature in the area of spiritual and religious diversity issues in mental health professional training programs. There will be a more detailed discussion of the study method in chapter 3. Research Question. The research questions and related hypotheses of this study are as follows: RQ1: Will cognitive dissonance (conflict score) increase with participants who hold both religious ideology and a scientific orientation for explanations of knowledge? Null Hypothesis 1: There will be no significant difference between those who score higher versus those who score lower on both the religious ideology scale and the scientific orientation scale on levels of cognitive dissonance (conflict scale). Alternative Hypothesis 1: There will be a significant difference between those who score higher versus those who score lower on both the religious ideology scale and the scientific orientation scale on levels of cognitive dissonance (conflict scale). RQ2: Does either religious ideology or scientific orientation predict respondent approval of integrating the core competency standards into current mental health professional training programs? Null Hypothesis 2: Either religious ideology or scientific orientation predicts respondent approval of integrating the core competencies standards into current mental health professional training programs.

10 Alternative Hypothesis 2: Either religious ideology or scientific orientation do not predict respondent approval of integrating the core competencies standards into current mental health professional training programs. However, there is not enough evidence to suggest which would be the stronger predictor. Definitions of Theoretical Constructs Attempting to define spirituality, the sacred, religion, and/or religiousness generate controversy around the world. Even among those who have made the scientific study of the psychology of spirituality and religion their primary focus, the variations of definitions is vast. Throughout the research literature, the terms spirituality and religion, while not interchangeable, are typically used together and have overlapping meanings (Hage, 2006). For the purpose of researching these constructs it is important to establish a consensus regarding the definitions of the terms used in this research. To this end, the present study will use Fukuyama and Sevig’s (1999) criterion that spirituality is the broader of the two terms and one’s spirituality “may be experienced and expressed through religion, defined as an organized system of faith, worship, cumulative traditions, and prescribed rituals” (p.233); and the definition developed by Wuthnow (1998) that spirituality “consists of all the beliefs and activities by which individuals attempt to relate their lives to God or to a divine being or some other conception of a transcendent reality” and that “it is shaped by larger social circumstances and by the beliefs and values present in the wider culture” (p.viii).

11 Definition of Key Terms Consciousness, states of consciousness: The major states of consciousness (waking, dreaming, and deep sleep) contain “a treasure trove of spiritual wisdom and spiritual awakening” as well as providing profound motivation, meaning, and drives (Wilber, 2006, p.4). Grof’s (2000) explanation of the nature of the psyche and genuine spirituality as full of potential for healing is also included in this definition. Core competencies of spirituality: The Association of Spiritual, Ethical, and

Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC, 1998) standards for infusing spiritual and

religious dimensions of client’s beliefs and practices into the counseling education

process provide that the competent professional counselor can:

1. Explain the relationship between religion and spirituality, including similarities and differences. 2. Describe religious and spiritual beliefs and practices in a cultural context. 3. Engage in self-exploration of religious and spiritual beliefs in order to increase sensitivity, understanding and acceptance of diverse belief systems. 4. Describe his/her religious and/or spiritual belief system and explain various models of religious or spiritual development across the lifespan. 5. Demonstrate sensitivity and acceptance of a variety of religious and/or spiritual expressions in client communication. 6. Identify limits of his/her understanding of a client’s religious or spiritual expression, and demonstrate appropriate referral skills and generate possible referral sources.

12 7. Assess the relevance of the religious and/or spiritual domains in the client’s therapeutic issues. 8. Be sensitive to and receptive of religious and/or spiritual themes in the counseling process as befits the expressed preference of each client. 9. Use a client’s religious and/or spiritual beliefs in the pursuit of the client’s therapeutic goals as befits the client’s expressed preference. Counseling students: For the purpose of this study, counseling students were

defined as graduate and doctoral level college students majoring in psychology.

Counseling professionals: This term includes master-level and doctoral-level

students, as well as master-level and doctoral-level mental health counseling

professionals.

Developmental theories of spiritual development: The faith dimension is an

essential feature of human experience. Stages of faith development as defined by Fowler (1981) proposes sequential changes in spiritual development from a lifespan perspective. The historical views for the psychology of spiritual development (James, 1901; Jung, 1930) are synthesized with the contemporary (Erikson, 1959, 1963, 1968; Maslow, 1964, 1968, 1971; Rogers, 1960, 1980) and post-modern views (Grof, 2001; Wilber, 2001, 2006). Diversity: For the purpose of this study, diversity includes cultural, cognitive, existential, and transpersonal approaches to spirituality and religion that promote the use of client’s spiritual beliefs, values and practices in ways conducive to mental health (Cox, Ervin-Cox, & Hoffman, 2005).

13 Ethical practice:. Ethical principles associated with mental health counseling involve sensitivity and training on religious-diversity-related issues (Plante, 2007). The APA (2003) set forth principles requiring psychologists to consider religion and religious issues as with all other dimensions of identity (e.g., gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion/spiritual orientation, educational attainment/experiences, and socioeconomic status). Mental health professional: This term refers to master-level and doctoral-level

mental health counseling professionals.

Psychotherapist: This term refers to master-level and doctoral-level mental health

professionals.

Religion/religiousness:. Religiosity is a complex phenomenon with multiple correlates that defy simple interpretations (Bergin, 1983). For the purpose of this research, religiousness can include “personal and institutional beliefs along with institutional practices, such as attending worship services, and usually reflects conformity and adherence to a basic set of tenets and proscribed behaviors” (Baetz, Bowen, Jones, & Koru-Sengul, 2006, p.655). Sacred: The sacred is defined by Hill & Pargament (2003) as that which “distinguishes religion and spirituality from other phenomena. It refers to those special objects or events set apart from the ordinary” and as such are “deserving of veneration” p. 65). According to Pargament (1999) the sacred includes concepts of God, the divine, Ultimate Reality, and the transcendent, as well as any aspect of life that takes on extraordinary character by virtue of its association with or representation of such

14 concepts. “The sacred encompasses concepts of God, the divine, and the transcendent, but it is not limited to notions of higher powers” (Pargament, 1999, p. 12). Spirituality: For the purpose of this research, the definition of spirituality is used

as provided by the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling

(ASERVIC, 1998): Spirit may be defined as the animating life force, represented by such

images as breath, wind, vigor, and courage. Spirituality is the drawing out and infusion

of spirit in one’s life. It is experienced as an active and passive process. Spirituality is

also defined as a capacity and tendency that is innate and unique to all persons. This

spiritual tendency moves the individual toward knowledge, love, meaning, peace, hope,

transcendence, connectedness, compassion, wellness, and wholeness. Spirituality

includes one’s capacity for creativity, growth and the development of a value system.

Spirituality encompasses a variety of phenomena, including experiences, beliefs, and

practices. Spirituality is approached from a variety of perspectives, including

psychospiritual, religious, and transpersonal. While spirituality is usually expressed

through culture, it both precedes and transcends culture. (ASERVIC, 1998, par. 3-4).

Spiritual development:. The process of “incorporating spiritual experience that

results ultimately in spiritual transformation.” (Chandler, Holden, & Kolander, 1992, p.

170). This process is strengthened as each spiritual experience is gained, not by one

experience alone.

Spiritual Identity: This is defined as “a persistent sense of self that addresses

ultimate questions about the nature, purpose, and meaning of life, resulting in behaviors

that are consonant with the individual’s core values” (Kiesling, Sorell, Colwell, &

15 Montgomery, 2006, p. 1269).

Spiritual wellness: This is defined as the balance between spiritual emergence

and repression similar to the theories of Rogers (1961) and Maslow (1971) outlining

human self-actualizing tendencies that lead to growth, direction, and productivity.

Soul: Moore (1992) defines the soul as “not a thing, but a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart, and personal substance” (p. 5). As a clarification, Moore goes on to state: “I do not use the word here as an object of religious belief or as something to do with immortality” (p. 5). According to Jung (1961) there is a historical quality to the soul: “Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors (p.235). Emerson’s (1841) notion of the soul is the light that shines through humanity: All goes to show that the soul in man is not an organ, but animates and exercise all the organs; is not a function, like the power of memory, of calculation, of comparison, but uses these as hands and feet; is not a faculty, but a light; is not the intellect or the will, but the master of the intellect and the will; is the vast background of our being, in which they lie, an immensity not possessed and that cannot be possessed. From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all (p. 135).

Full document contains 213 pages
Abstract: The Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVC) identifies 9 core competencies for integrating spirituality/religion into practice. Previous research indicates that some mental health professionals have experienced discomfort when considering the balance between religious ideology (RI) and scientific orientation (SO) in their practice. However, no research exists assessing this potential for cognitive dissonance among mental health professionals nor has there been a test of the relative influence of RI/SO on approval of ASERVC competency integration into counselor training. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study was first to assess RI/SO cognitive dissonance and, second, to test RI/SO relative to ASERVC competency integration. The Religious Ideology, Scientific Orientation, Conflict Questionnaire and Core Competency Questionnaire was administered to a random sample of American Psychological Association and American Counseling Association professionals. The results from t tests revealed a significant difference in cognitive dissonance with higher scores on both RI/SO associated with greater dissonance. Multiple regression analysis revealed neither RI nor SO predict competency approval. Findings suggest an important social-change implication: Counselors may not perceive a conflict between RI and SO and, therefore, may be willing to accept the integration of the ASERVC competencies into their training. Implications also include changes in curricular requirements within academic programs that train counselors, social workers, and psychologists to integrate these competencies; considerations for ethical guidelines addressing religious and spiritual diversity; and the development of continuing education coursework pertaining to spiritual and religious diversity competencies.