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Spiritual and religious competencies in psychology.


Abstract: Religion and spirituality (R/S) are important aspects of human diversity that should be explicitly addressed in the field of psychology. The field has already included R/S in its definitions of multiculturalism, but while multicultural training is routinely included in doctoral level psychology course work and internship programs, it rarely includes specific training in R/S diversity. Polls of the American public indicate that religion and spirituality are important in most people's lives, and hundreds of studies demonstrate empirical links between R/S and psychological health and well-being. In clinical practice, there is evidence that clients would prefer to have their R/S addressed in psychotherapy. However, R/S issues are typically neither discussed in psychotherapy nor included in assessment or treatment planning. In research, religion and spirituality are often assessed with a single item on religious affiliation. Psychologists receive little or no training in R/S issues, in part because no agreed upon set of spiritual competencies or training guidelines exist. This article summarizes the rationale for including religious and spiritual competencies in psychology training and practice, reviews research establishing a set of religious and spiritual competencies (attitudes, knowledge, and skills) that we propose all psychologists should demonstrate, and provides practical recommendations for inquiring about religion and spirituality. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
Keywords: diversity / R/S / psychology / competencies / religious / psychotherapy / multiculturalism / religion and spirituality

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