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.
'Once again, James and Melissa Griffith share with readers their particular blend of gentle, curious, and loving inquiry. Rich clinical vignettes are used to illustrate how spirituality and religious experience can contribute to meaning-making in therapy, guiding therapists in making key distinctions and opening up their own conversations with clients. Never preachy, always engaging, this book will be of use to beginning and advanced clinicians in all of the helping professions.' - Kathy Weingarten, PhD, Harvard Medical School and The Family Institute of Cambridge 'This is an important book. Through it, therapists will witness intimate and sacred conversations that will open their hearts and work to new possibilities. The authors' therapy is exquisitely respectful, their writing fascinating and accessible, and their ideas inspiring and practical for therapists of all disciplines and approaches. This book illuminates not one path but many to take in talking meaningfully with people about the spiritual and religious dimensions of their lives.' - Jill Freedman, MSW, Evanston Family Therapy Center 'Leaving religious and spiritual discussions out of our work as psychotherapists means that we ignore vital parts of many people's lives....[This] book illustrates how spiritual beliefs and experiences can be resources for healing in a wide range of contexts: recovery from abuse, trying to solve relationship dilemmas, coping with chronic pain and illness, and even making the decision to take medication for emotional illness. At the same time, the authors do not shy away from the hard questions....How can a therapist work with people whose beliefs present obstacles to cure? What can we do when belief is used to justify cruelty or abuse? This book strikes a deep chord because it gives voice to something that many of us know has been missing from psychotherapy. This is a book every therapist needs to read.' - Eric E. McCollum, PhD, Virginia Tech University