Psychology Today Blog

Spirituality Rarely Wears a Name Tag

Q: I ’m a therapist with a strong spiritual orientation (Roman Catholic my entire life). I would love for spiritual conversations to be more a part of my therapy practice, for my clients’ sake (I believe that being more spiritually oriented would be helpful to them) and for my sake (I believe having more spiritually oriented conversations would be satisfying and meaningful for me). But it is rare that any of my clients ever mentions this part of their life, and I feel that it is not my place to bring it up. So I feel stuck and a little frustrated. Can you share a perspective on this that might help un-stuck me?  READ MORE ->

Grief in December 2020

Q: I’m a therapist, writing with a question about grief. December always seems like a grief-heavy month in my practice, with clients feeling sad about people they’ve lost who aren’t with them at the holidays. But this December I’m noticing more grief than any I can remember, and I imagine this is happening in the practices of most therapists. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, especially your thoughts about what our clients need from us. READ MORE ->

The Divide That Matters More Than Red and Blue

Q: I am worried about the intense political division in the U.S. People on opposite sides don’t understand each other, don’t know how to understand each other, and often, don’t seem to want to understand each other. I know this is not new, but it feels like it’s getting worse. And it’s scary. What can we do? READ MORE ->

Therapy After the Election

Q: I’m a therapist, and I care deeply about the outcome of the election next week. I don’t bring up politics with my clients, but they bring it up with me. I’d guess that 75% of them want the same outcome I do, and 25% want the opposite. If “my side” wins, I think I’ll be fine. I care about those 25% of clients as much as I do about the 75%, and I think I’ll be able to empathize with their heartbreak and fear if the causes and candidates they believe in should lose. (Which I hope they do.)

But if it goes the other way, if “my side” loses, I’m not sure I’ll even be able to get out of bed, let alone do therapy. I don’t know what I’ll have to offer the 75% who will be just as devasted as I’ll be. And being with the 25% who’ll be thrilled makes me nauseated even to imagine.

Part of me wants to take next week as a vacation week. But another part thinks that this is the week people will need me more than ever, and I truly want to be there for them. How are you and other therapists preparing for what happens after the election? How do we show up for others who are strongly affected by a moment when we’re as affected by it as they are?  READ MORE ->

How Often Is Spirituality a Part of Psychotherapy?

Q: Some of my clients want to talk about spiritual issues in psychotherapy, but most don’t. So I’m curious. With what percentage of your clients are you doing spiritually integrated psychotherapy?  READ MORE ->

Five Spiritual Practices for Election Season

A few days ago, I responded to a timely question about the stress of election season. Here’s that question again:

Q: Help! It’s election season! I care about what’s happening in our country (and in the world), and I want to stay engaged. But all I’m really doing is watching a lot of news, scrolling my phone, and feeling more and more overwhelmed and bitter. I swing back and forth between anger and fear, and what bothers me most is the way my anger is turning to hatred. Could you offer some encouragement or advice to help me survive the next 70 days? READ MORE ->

Five More Spiritual Practices for Election Season

Q: Help! It’s election season! I care about what’s happening in our country (and in the world), and I want to stay engaged. But all I’m really doing is watching a lot of news, scrolling my phone, and feeling more and more overwhelmed and bitter. I swing back and forth between anger and fear, and what bothers me most is the way my anger is turning to hatred. Could you offer some encouragement or advice to help me survive the next 70 days?  READ MORE ->

What Do I Do with My White Guilt?

Q: I’m white and, like many other white people since the death of George Floyd, I have immersed myself in reading, listening, and learning about racism—the racism around me and within me—and committed myself to the ongoing work of anti-racism. I know I don’t understand what that commitment means and where it will take me, but the fire in me is strong about this, and I trust it.

What I’m struggling with is guilt. Why did it take me this long to wake up? Why did it take yet another killing of a Black man to get my attention? I’ve read that white people don’t need to ask Black people to assuage our guilt for us, that we need to talk with other white people about this. So that’s my question. What do I do with this sickening feeling of guilt? READ MORE ->

Stop Hesitating

One week after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and following a week of protests across the world, Elizabeth McCorvey, a social worker in Asheville, North Carolina, began sharing “Stop Hesitating,” a one-page guide for white therapists about how to engage black clients about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, protests, and racial trauma in general.

McCorvey provides psychotherapy to college students at UNC-Asheville and also does office-based and equine-assisted psychotherapy. Her focus is working with people of color and LGBTQIA identified individuals. She graciously agreed to share some of her thoughts in this space. READ MORE ->

Spiritual Wisdom in the Time of COVID-19

Q: I wrote to you a few weeks ago and asked for spiritually informed mental health advice for coping with the many coronavirus stresses. I appreciate the recommendations you offered. Now I have a related but different question: What are you learning from your clients about coping with this pandemic? And can you share some of that? READ MORE ->

20 Beats 19

Q: I’m not a therapist, but I’ve been reading your blog anyway. It looks like all your questions so far have come from therapists, but I hope you’ll answer this one from someone who’s not. My question is: are there any spiritually-informed, mental-health-savvy words of wisdom you’d offer about living with the stress of the coronavirus?  READ MORE ->

How Do I Start Talking with my Clients about Spirituality?

Q: It got so drilled into me in grad school, “Do not impose your own spiritual ideas,” that I’m basically afraid to wade into these waters of spirituality with my clients. Your book was helpful to me, but I’m still working up my nerve to engage my clients in this area. If you were going to suggest one thing, one simple way to start, what would it be?  READ MORE ->

Why Not Leave Spirituality to the Spiritual Professionals?

Q:  I’m a therapist who values my clients’ (and my own) spirituality, but I’m uneasy getting too involved with it in therapy. Spirituality is so complex and consequential, and there are professionals who are better trained at working with it than I’ll ever be — ministers, chaplains, spiritual directors. Wouldn’t it be better to let them handle the spiritual issues and let me handle the mental health issues?   READ MORE ->

“The wound is the place where the light enters you”

- Rumi

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