During my graduate school training in psychology, religion was a topic that was almost never discussed. Some students were more religious than others, and some were not religious at all. As budding psychologists, we tended to be respectful of each others’ practices or lack thereof, but the subject of religion was almost never discussed professionally.
The world has changed! Religion is now often subsumed under the broader subject of Spirituality, and it is out in the open. I would be really irresponsible in my work if I neglected the fact that religion or other aspects of spirituality are very meaningful influences in the lives of patients who are working toward being the best that they can be.
Spiritual individuals, whether they pursue a formal religion or not, generally believe that there are powers that transcend human understanding that have played a role in the development of our world as we know it. Spiritual individuals are guided by attitudes and behaviors and values related to making the world a better place.
Whereas spirituality and science were often perceived as being opposed to one another, this is rarely the case any more. In fact, the positive psychology movement embraces the findings of science to encourage individuals to make brain and behavior changes in order to extend their limits and achieve their goals.
Some actual therapy-related interventions, such as meditation and yoga, have spirituality at their cores.
A sense of spirituality enables us to appreciate the beauty of nature, the maturation of a child, and the talents and accomplishments of our fellow humans. It allows us to experience a sense of awe.
If you haven’t thought much about spirituality, or if you’ve taken your spirituality or religion for granted, maybe it’s time to examine and appreciate the role that spirituality probably plays in your life.