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Title: The influence of counsellors’ religious and spiritual identity on their counselling practice: a phenomenological exploration
Authors: Mizzi, Antonella
Keywords: Counselors -- Malta
Mental health counseling -- Religious aspects
Psychology and religion -- Malta
Spirituality -- Malta
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: This research explores how the religious and spiritual dimension of a counsellor’s identity influences counselling practice. Six professional counsellors shared their lived experience and discussed this phenomenon during face to face semi-structured interviews. The interviews were then analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Five superordinate themes were drawn out from the raw data, namely: 1. The Maltese context; 2. Religious/spiritual/non-religious identity as a process; 3. The religious and spiritual dimension as an ever-present element in counselling; 4. Multidimensional aspects of religion and spirituality; 5. Counsellor training. Findings show that the religious/spiritual dimension seems to be ever-present in the counselling room, brought in by both counsellor and client. A number of factors influencing the development of one’s religious/spiritual identity emerged. Context seems to have a substantial impact on the religious/spiritual dimension, and in this investigation, the Maltese context is seen to have a central role. Religion and/or spirituality are deemed to be important to many clients, particularly in the Maltese context, and clients do bring issues related to this to counselling. Counsellors interviewed claim that clients’ religious/spiritual identity most often helps the client throughout the counselling process. Results from the data however, demonstrate lack of counsellor training in this field. In light of this, a number of recommendations are presented for culturally congruent counselling, especially regarding the religious/spiritual dimension. Counsellors are encouraged to engage in self awareness and training regarding their religious/spiritual/non-religious identity to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding, bias or oppression.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacSoW - 2017
Dissertations - FacSoWCou - 2017

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