Spiritual counseling goes beyond traditional forms of psychotherapy by tapping into the importance of religion or spirituality within a person’s life. It aims to integrate standard therapy techniques with religious/spiritual practices and wisdom. Typically, spiritual counseling is practiced by a licensed healthcare professional, a psychologist, social worker or nurse who has pursued additional training. Many spiritual counselors also have a background in theology.

What is the Difference Between Spiritual Counseling and Psychotherapy?

The major difference lies in the fact that psychotherapy shies away from discussing religious topics. From the traditional psychoanalytic perspective, for example, it is frowned upon to discuss religion and for the therapist to reveal to the client their own spiritual persuasions (or other personal information, for that matter). For spiritual counselors, on the other hand, explicit discussion of religious topics is central to the treatment.

Does Spiritual Counseling Work?

While some say that psychotherapy is based on science while spiritual counseling is not, this is a misconception. Spiritual counselors use evidence-based recommendations and best practice guidelines, just like any other mental health professional. What does the science say? While there is a need for more studies to be conducted, evidence suggests that spiritual counseling does in fact work, bringing clients increased levels of emotional and psychological wellbeing.