A Spiritual Strategy for Counseling and Psychotherapy

Pages: 391
Item #: 4317940
ISBN: 978-1-55798-434-0
List Price: $39.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $34.95
Copyright: 1997
Format: Hardcover
Note: This book is out of print and no longer available for purchase.

This edition is no longer for sale. However, an updated edition is available.

A broad-ranging text, this book begins with a review of the history of science and psychology, of the central beliefs of the major world religions, and of the evolution of psychotherapy. The authors then look at traditional antagonisms between the spiritual and scientific domains, and they offer guidelines and a series of case studies that bring their theses and research to life.

Authors P. Scott Richards and Allen E. Bergin argue that when psychotherapists diagnose and assess their clients, they should routinely assess the religious and spiritual system of their clients' lives to obtain a fuller and more accurate diagnostic picture.

This book is the first to provide guidance for integrating a theistic spiritual strategy into mainstream approaches to psychology and psychotherapy in order to reach a large, underserved population of clients with religion and spiritual beliefs. The theistic approach assumes that God exists, that human beings have an eternal spirit, or soul, and that God communicates with human beings through spiritual processes. Richards and Bergin demonstrate a profound respect for the scientific method and argue that spirituality is also susceptible to scientific investigation. They place their proposed theistic strategy on a parallel path with the more traditional forms of psychotherapy that have evolved in the past 100 years.

Table of Contents



I. Introduction


  1. The Need for a Spiritual Strategy

II. Historical, Theoretical, and Philosophical Foundations

  1. The Alienation Between Religion and Psychology
  2. The New Zeitgeist
  3. Western and Eastern Spiritual Worldviews
  4. A Theistic, Spiritual View of Personality and Mental Health

III. Psychotherapy Process and Methods

  1. A Theistic, Spiritual View of Psychotherapy
  2. Ethical Issues and Guidelines
  3. Religious and Spiritual Assessment
  4. Religious and Spiritual Practices as Therapeutic Interventions
  5. Spiritual Interventions Used by Contemporary Psychotherapists
  6. Case Reports of Spiritual Issues and Interventions in Psychotherapy

IV. Research and Future Directions

  1. A Theistic, Spiritual View of Science and Research Methods
  2. Directions for the Future


Author Index

Subject Index

About the Authors

Reviews & Awards

A Spiritual Strategy is timely, well-written, nicely organized, and filled with helpful tables and examples. As might be expected from scientist-practitioners of their stature, Richards and Bergin have combined scholarly thoroughness with applied practicality…[T]his volume is among the best available for those considering the clinical implications of religiously-sensitive interventions. It is not just a book for religious psychologists—all those providing clinical services and all psychologists-in-training should be aware of this resource.
—Mental Health, Religion and Culture, Vol 1, No 2, November 1998

This book is a good overview of a field that finally is emerging with increasing popularity…If you only have time to read one [book on how religion can be helpful for counselors], consider Richards and Bergin.
—Christian Counseling Resource Review, Vol 4, No 4, 997/98

This is a courageous book, and both the authors and the publishers are to be commended for making it. It is courageous because it boldly enters a battlefield that has been fought over for a long time. The relationship between religious faith, science, and psychology has been contentious and hostile for several hundred years.
—Issues In Child Abuse Accusations, Vol 10, 1998

The authors do a commendable job of explaining throughout…This book is a foundational work, successfully integrating a broad array of research and approaches into a cogent model. It serves as a compendium of research and writing related to the issue of implementing religious or spiritual approaches in counseling and psychotherapy. Of particular value for the practicing clinician were the pragmatic checklists included in many of the chapters to guide one's thinking and practice when attempting to carry out this approach.
—Paul Priester, Loyola University Counseling Center

This is an important book as it seeks to identify common ground among the religions and common ground among the psychotherapies and then to catalyse an interaction between the two. Each topic is enormous in itself. Yet I believe that Richards and Bergin have succeeded in their task, insofar as contemporary understanding permits… In summary, this book is a treasury of information, largely of North American origin, and would be a most useful source book for all interested in psychotherapy whether psychologist, psychiatrist or priest.
—The British Journal of Medical Psychology (1999), 72, 591