Religious-Spiritual Issues in Couples and Family Therapy: A Developmental Perspective
J. Roland Fleck
The process of integrating religion and spirituality into one’s daily life is a developmental identity process. There are numerous religious-spiritual issues which clients present that represent differing patterns of religious-spiritual identity resolution and the overall developmental nature of the religious-spiritual journey. Religious-spiritual issues are potentially neither easier nor more difficult for therapists to work with than any other core developmental issue. Most of the previous work in this field has placed most of the emphasis on the role of the therapist in the religious-spiritual integration process. However, the integration of spirituality in clinical practice is mainly the work of the client. The integration of the religious-spiritual into a person’s life is an ongoing developmental task that clients can work on within the therapeutic milieu. The work of the therapist is more about facilitating process than focusing on the particular content. Five cases are presented to illustrate the additional challenges for both the individual and the therapist in trying to resolve religious-spiritual identity issues within the context of a marriage and/or family.
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