1:30- 2:30 pm
6. Spiritual Interventions: Working with Harmful Spirituality and Religion, presented by Russell Siler Jones, Th.D., LPCS.
Religion and spirituality are often sources of resilience, meaning, and healing, but they can also do harm. Sometimes the persons we serve are the ones being hurt by religion, and sometimes they’re the ones using religion to harm others.
Harmful religion is sometimes connected to an underlying mental health issue, but more often it is related to social factors. The spiritual virtues at the heart of religion get suppressed by the demands of religious group cohesion. Under strong social influence, people sometimes participate in behaviors that diminish the human capacity for compassion and empathy. Furthermore, an individual’s anxieties, defenses, and prejudices are all more entrenched and intractable when they are supported by some religiously-based rationale.
It can be challenging for therapists, chaplains, and educators to mitigate the destructive impact of religion. Interventions with harmful religion and spirituality require considerable skill, respect, and patience and they proceed from safety, respect, and curiosity. Working with harmful spiritual or religious beliefs or practices is an advanced skill that requires significant self-reflexivity and support.
This workshop is an abbreviated version of one of the 10 courses in the Spiritually-Integrated Psychotherapy (SIP) curriculum. A brief overview of the SIP curriculum will be provided at the beginning of the workshop.
At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:
- Identify elements of harmful spirituality or religion.
- Discuss how spirituality and religion become harmful.
- Identify examples of harmful spirituality or religion that they have encountered personally or in their practice.
- Discuss strategies for countering the impact of harmful spirituality or religion.