Publisher description for Encountering the sacred in psychotherapy : how to talk with people about their spiritual lives / James L. Griffith, Melissa Elliott Griffith.

Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog

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This book guides therapists in exploring the creative and healing possibilities in people's spiritual and religious experience, while countering ways it can do harm. James L. Griffith and Melissa Elliott Griffith integrate ideas from a range of therapeutic perspectives--as well as wisdom gleaned from over 20 years of work in the field--to help therapists listen and respond when spiritual or religious themes are invoked ask appropriate questions about beliefs, practices, and communities and work collaboratively to identify personally meaningful resources for change. Modeling an open, receptive stance, the book demonstrates ways to honor an individual's language, ideas, and traditions even in the absence of specific cultural knowledge or common traditions. Filled with evocative personal accounts and therapeutic dialogues, this is a compelling resource for novice and experienced clinicians alike.

Each chapter begins with a vivid case example that brings to life the ways spiritual experiences may color and illuminate the stories told in therapy, the language and metaphors used, and the meanings brought to key relationships and events. The authors demonstrate how spiritual practices or a relationship with a personal God can provide a primary avenue for therapeutic change, particularly when human relationships are absent, distant, or disrupted by trauma or loss. Narrative-informed approaches are applied to a wide variety of clinical situations, including helping people resolve relationship problems, treat psychiatric symptoms, and cope with medical illnesses. Topics discussed include whether and when to raise spiritual issues in therapy working with personal narratives about God helping people explore their relationships to individual, familial, and cultural belief systems using spiritual practices and rituals to promote healing and dealing with religious convictions that may be alienating or destructive.

This wise and compassionate book belongs on the shelves of therapists and counselors from a variety of backgrounds, including clinical psychology, psychiatry, family therapy, social work, pastoral counseling, and nursing. It will also serve as a text in graduate-level counseling and psychotherapy courses.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Psychotherapy Religious aspects, Psychotherapy patients Religious life