Why should I go to therapy if I am already attending church?
Church and other spiritual practices are important for many people. It gives a sense of community and belonging while also providing a sense of calm during times of stress. The benefits of seeing a therapist while also engaging in spiritual practices is that your therapy gives you personalized attention to help you get to the root of your issues. Having professional guidance on how to address and handle difficult situations will only benefit you.
I’m worried about my therapist not sharing the same spiritual beliefs as me.
A quality therapist is one that can help you with your problems, not judge you for your beliefs and knows better than to press their spiritual beliefs, or lack there of, on to you. Your spirituality is an important part of who you are and the way you live your life. Your therapist should understand that and take it into consideration when you’re discussing your problems. If you are concerned with your therapist's spiritual beliefs, there are ways to search for therapists who have the same spiritual background as you. Searching for one through sites such as Psychology Today can help you find a faith-based therapist that works with specific spiritual backgrounds.
I’m receiving counseling through my church, would receiving outside therapy be harmful?
I’ve met plenty of people who see a counselor at their church as well as a therapist that is non-affiliated with their church or religious belief. The two shouldn’t conflict especially if you’re keeping all of your therapy outlets aware of the topics you’re discussing. It’s good to get a clinical or faith-based perspective about your problems. You will oftentimes be surprised that your spiritual teachings and therapist’s recommendations are similar in nature, just one being spiritually focused and the other being clinical.
Overall spirituality and therapy shouldn’t be at odds with one another. Therapists understand that people are a part of multiple systems that cultivate who they are. With religion often being one of those systems, Marriage and Family Therapists are understanding and respectful about how religion and spirituality shape people and their relationships. MFTs keep spirituality in mind during our sessions with individuals, couples, and families and encourage our clients to use religion if they share that in therapy. In the end religion and therapy are here to assist and aid people with their problems, not cause them.
This topic of the week post was written by Alanna Gardner, MFT