Spiritual Counseling and its Benefits
Spiritual counseling is a form of psychotherapy known for its tactful integration of spirituality with psychotherapeutic guidance and care. A “pastoral counselor” usually refers to one who has pursued graduate level education in counseling and been ordained as a minister. Often, this individual will have a doctoral degree. Several states are involved in proper licensing for the pastoral counseling profession. This special licensing is for ministers who receive payment for providing counseling services. Aspiring individuals who choose this path should be willing to provide a full range of counseling services to individuals at all stages of life.
Spiritual counselors guide individuals on their paths toward emotional healing and spiritual growth. Often, people are searching for a meaning or purpose in life or they might be dealing with challenges or obstacles in their way. They might be learning how to manage issues of pain and grief. There are many different paths that people take with their spiritual lives, so counselors are as diverse in the forms of spirituality they integrate into their practice. The systems range from Judaism and Christianity to Islam and Buddhism. Some spiritual counselors are not so orthodox in their approaches; instead, they may approach therapy from a more universal, and non-denominational, perspective. Spiritual counselors that excel in their profession usually display the following traits: good listeners; compassionate; caring; insightful; “spiritually mindful.” Spiritual counselors also maintain the flexibility to integrate other counseling modalities in their practice. “Spiritual counselor” is a term that is usually used to encompass a broad range of perspectives. It may include orthodox, religious perspectives, or be more steeped in mystical, New Age, or Native American beliefs. Spiritual counselors may or may not have a graduate degree. A spiritual counselor may come from a different background than traditional counseling training.
Spiritual counseling sees that life is innately personal and individuals want to build their own unique, flowing relationship with it, organically and without force. With the Soul being the starting point individuals come from the heart, whilst not forgetting their head, and from this heart space, they care for the sacred interdependence of all life.
Compassion for self and compassion for others is a core concept for their personal and collective growth. As spiritual counselling is holistic, there is no separation, no duality between personal or collective responses and reaction, all are intrinsically linked. There is the awareness that life experiences become the greatest tool, with the integration of personal pains and personal journey.
The aim is for clients to express themselves and their world with intimate wisdom, spiritual awareness and personal authenticity, using integrity and wise use of their spiritual gifts, skills and knowledge.
How can spiritual counselling help me?
As each client is seen as an individual the sessions are non-prescriptive and individually tailored. The counsellor is thus active and creative, responding to the immediate issues brought by the client. The assumption is that human beings are innately motivated towards achieving their highest potential of awareness and fulfilment; the counsellor’s role is to support this and trust the client’s process.
The spiritual journey can be blissful and awakening, but also it can be arduous, frightening and lonely. Anyone can have a spiritual experience or peak experience, but holistic self-realisation is a different matter.
Spiritual development best occurs at the point when the ego identity is strong enough to take a little disorientation. One’s understanding and meaning of one’s lives depend on the presence of ego. If the ego is not strong and does not hold the person in a healthy reality; the spiritual opening then results in fragmentation and crises.
This altered state of consciousness can be catastrophic to the ego if the individual contacts the lower level of consciousness rather than the higher level of consciousness. A healthy ego arises from the healing and integration of past traumas and of self-realisation and self-awareness.
Spiritual counselling recognises that the split between psychotherapy and spirituality in the West is a cultural, not a natural, phenomenon. It takes as its roots transpersonal psychology, spiritual psychology, humanistic psychology, psychosynthesis, and person-centred counselling.
Having awareness of spiritual identity; we are all more than our personalities and our problems.
- Faith in self: that we have within us the wisdom to make the right choices.
- Faith in potential: that every situation has a potential for growth.
- Faith in the journey: that our lives have meaning.
- Faith in spirit: that we are truly spiritual being
Are you an Spiritual Counselor?
5 Benefits of Spiritual Counseling
Regular counseling does a great job of solving a person’s problems by following a goal oriented plan, but it does not compare to the benefits of spiritual counseling. A psychologist works with the client on a regular basis to figure out which areas need a little help. These include more tangible matters like lack of communication skills, laziness and anger issues. While most therapists dig a little deeper and lean a little on spiritual insights, spirituality is never the focus. A spiritual counselor encompasses both spiritual and mental facets of life and helps a person get in sync with deep emotional longings, explain their sacred experiences and define their meaning in life.
1. Building Lasting Mindful Thinking
Negative thinking happens to be a default way of thinking for most people. Its occurrence is even more adverse in the face of crises. Spiritual therapy delves into the core of the negative thoughts and progressively helps one develop a healthier thought process. A spiritual guru awakens one’s awareness to their conscious thoughts and helps shift the mind into positivity. One powerful spiritual input is the use of positive affirmations to readjust the mind’s vibrations from low destructive thinking to uplifting intentional thoughts. Over time, self-criticism takes a back seat as the person awakens to the limitless power of inserting positive words and imagery into the mind.
2. Alienate Stress, Depression and Anxiety
A little perspective into spiritualism is enormously rewarding to understanding the cause of depression, anxiety and stress. A spiritual director mindfully brings into light a person’s immediate environmental stimulants that may be instigating the conditions. One becomes aware of the negativity stemming and the detriments arising from intentionally nurturing a negativity breeding environment. Spiritual directors’ biggest roles in such candidates are helping them understand their role in recreating negative patterns and the solution to breaking free. Intentional meditation, mantras and self-affirming words are just a few of the impactful strategies for rerouting one’s emotional and mental state to one of positivity, balance and health.
3. Sustaining a New Life of Positivity
Dr. Maxwell Matz in the 1950s established that it takes approximately 21 days for old habits to disintegrate and allow the formation of new ones. Staying grounded in a new way of being is not a cake walk for almost everyone, especially one recovering from a longstanding negative habit. Spiritual counseling quiets the mind enough using meditation and mantras to rewire the brain’s need for constant stimulation. The techniques applied are extensively beneficial in building and maintaining inner peace, well-being and balance. Regular spiritual counseling helps one form a robust discipline in meditation that ultimately holistically enriches life.
4. Nurturing Peace
One thematic occurrence in people finding blockage in forging ahead in life is the inability to let go of the past. All of us are unfortunately born into a predisposition we did not choose. Some have it tougher than others. It is hanging on to the experiences that shaped our childhood that leaves us bitter and angry at the world. A spiritual counselor seeks to strengthen one’s willingness to let go of past trauma and surrender to the thought that all is possible with the right mind set. The power of surrender creates inner peace, acceptance and positivity looking forward to the future.
5. Build Trust with Society
A spiritual counselor often forms a stronger bond with the client, according to a Careers in Psychology. This bond is forged around shameless openness and total acceptance. The director becomes a trusted mentor, a loving teacher and a compassionate listener. While trying to reconcile one’s view of the world, it is imperative to address the perception that society does not have nice, trustworthy people. A reliable and non-judgmental counselor builds the fundamentals of a healthy relationship and helps one open up to the world without fear of alienation. A spiritual counselor who is highly invested in one’s well-being will work relentlessly to create peace, contentment and trust.