Incorporating Spirituality Into Substance Abuse Counseling: Examining the Perspectives of Service Recipients and Providers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spirituality represents an important internal and external strength that can support clients when facing a variety of problems including substance misuse and addiction. Spirituality is commonly included in peer-run mutual aid support groups for addiction, while incorporating a client's spiritual preference is less common in professional substance abuse counseling. Considering the potential benefits of this practice, this research study conducted focus groups with both service recipients and providers to understand how to best integrate spiritual preferences into counseling for alcohol and substance abuse. The findings offer a set of suggestions that emerged from these group discussions regarding the importance of respecting client autonomy while also encouraging and challenging clients to consider new coping strategies. Recipients and providers felt this tension between respecting and challenging can be managed through increased training and education regarding how to remain culturally responsive to one's spiritual beliefs. Implications for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-510
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

Keywords

  • Strengths-based
  • consumer voice
  • spirituality
  • substance abuse counseling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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