Psychology Doctoral Students’ Perspectives on Addressing Spirituality and Religion with Clients: Associations with Personal Preferences and Training
Format of Original
American Psychological Association
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Original Item ID
Students (n = 543) in doctoral clinical and counseling psychology programs were surveyed about training experiences with regard to addressing the spiritual and religious beliefs and practices (SRBP) of their patients. About one fourth of the respondents indicated they had received no training related to patients’ SRBP. Another half had only read material on their own or discussed such issues with a supervisor. Nonetheless, respondents almost universally endorsed the idea that patients should be asked about spirituality and religiousness. Participants also rated the appropriateness of spiritual and religious queries that might be asked of patients. As expected, queries about the relevance of SRBP were rated as the most appropriate, whereas queries that implied a disrespectful or challenging tone were rated as the least appropriate. Participants’ personal SRBP and training that was specific to patients’ SRBP were weakly but significantly associated with appropriateness ratings. The results suggest that students are formulating ideas about how to ask patients about their spiritual and religious issues despite potentially inadequate formal instruction.