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Religion and Psychotherapy: Argosy University(USE AS GUIDE ONLY)
Religion and Psychotherapy 1
Running Head: RELIGION AND PSYCHOTHERAPY
Religion and Psychotherapy:
Religion and Psychotherapy 2
The intersection between religious faith and life is at no point more relevant than when
two people come together. Until that time, ideologies and the ways in which they are
instantiated dwell firmly in the land of the potential, waiting for the moment in which mind
meets mind and everything changes. In the case of the therapeutic relationship, the dyad that
develops is full of greater potential than chance would make of it, as it is here the choice has
been made to attempt authenticity. By making oneself open, baring one’s soul as it were, the
nexus point upon which life is based is inevitably to come into question. For many this point is
found in their religious ideology. Given this inevitability and the continuation of increased
funding for the Faith-Based Initiatives began by President Bush, it is not only simply a matter of
time before ethical considerations of religion’s role in therapy come up in practice. Given the
utter lack in training in religious thinking most therapists receive, it is paramount that therapists
take the time to understand how the basic tenets of major religions play a role in the psychology
of their clients and the ethical dilemmas that may arise.
There are three parts in the ACA Ethical Guidelines that potentially bear upon the
consideration of religious ideologies playing a part in the normal course of the therapeutic
experience. The first is located under Section A: The Counseling Relationship. “The primary
responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and promote the welfare of clients.” (Herlihy
& Corey, 2006) It is not simply a coincidence that this is the first ethical consideration noted.
The dignity and welfare of the client is like the Hippocratic Oath for medical practitioners, it is
sacrosanct and any practice violating this standard is and should be subject to disciplinary action.
Unfortunately, just what “dignity” and “welfare” actually are is not precisely laid down. Hence,
it is not without some pause that one embarks on the utilization of specific religious ideological
structures with a history of negativity concerning the human person.
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