The impact of counselor spiritual development on the decision to integrate client spirituality into a plan for growth and change
McClenagan, Brian D.
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This qualitative study examines the licensed professional counselor’s personal spiritual development, and its impact on the decision to integrate client spirituality into plans for growth and change. The data for the study was derived from the interviews of each participant (n=12). Participants were asked to describe the culture, ideas, and influences that shaped their spiritual development, via values and beliefs, throughout their lives. The spiritual development of each participant was determined using Fowler’s Faith Stages (1981). The data from the interviews was then coded and analyzed using NVivo 10 qualitative software. Analysis of the data revealed that the spiritual developmental level of the participant did not always correlate with the decision to use the client’s spirituality as a resource for growth and change. Results indicate that the impact of the licensed professional counselor’s spiritual development on efforts to integrate the client’s spirituality into a plan for growth and change mediates the effects of stages of spiritual development on the decision to introduce spirituality as a resource for growth and change. This conclusion is supported by (Bandura, 1986; Freeman, Pretzer, Fleming, & Simon, 2004) who found that individual behavior in different contexts has been thought to be regulated by belief systems (cognitive schemas). Ozorak (2005) also supports this conclusion finding that religious belief systems (schemas) organize new information and guide decision making, even outside of the religious context. Thus, it appears that the counselor’s belief system influences and guides decision and meaning making about religion and spirituality in counseling and mediates the interaction between stages of spiritual development and the use of religious and spiritually sensitive interventions.