Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Psychotherapist-Religious life, Psychotherapy-Religious aspects, Spirituality-Psychological aspects, Psychotherapist and patient, Spirituality, Clinicians' spirituality, Clinical practice, Ethics, Psychotherapy-Moral and ethical aspects


This qualitative study examined how experienced clinicians who self-identify as spiritual perceive the role their spirituality has in their clinical practice. The specific research question was: How do clinicians incorporate their own spirituality into their clinical practice? This study was undertaken because of the limited amount of research exploring the relationship between clinicians' personal spirituality and the influence it has in their clinical practice. Given the limited amount of research in the area, a phenomenological approach was used. Thirteen licensed mental health clinicians who self- identified as spiritual filled out a questionnaire and were interviewed. The professions the participants belonged to were: clinical social worker (8) marriage and family therapist (1) psychiatric nurse (1) and licensed professional counselor (3). The spiritual beliefs and religious affiliations participants ascribed to are listed in table 1 in the findings section. In line with a phenomenological approach, thematic analysis of participants' responses was done. The findings were that the clinicians' spirituality played multiple roles in their clinical practice: (1) clinicians' spirituality provided them with support and guidance; (2) clinicians' spiritual beliefs influenced the way they interacted with or perceived clients; and (3) clinicians used concepts of mindfulness for themselves and their clients.




iv, 55 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 46-48)