Spirituality in Counseling

Man meditatingAn individual's spiritual or religious beliefs are often central to their outlook on life and their personal well-being; therefore, it is imperative for counselors to acknowledge and help clients in a way that is aligned with those beliefs. To help counselors gain more comfort with the variety of spiritual and religious philosophies and issues in counseling, these research studies were focused on exploring this area more.

I think Abraham-Hicks says it perfectly: 

"It doesn't really matter what religion anybody believes. If their life is working (and there are many different approaches to life that are working very well) then why not let them believe whatever they want to believe? It's all working in the way that it is supposed to be. There are religions that you wouldn't want anything to do with, that are perfect mechanisms for the people who are involved in them. And therefore, they are a very good thing."

Caregiver Strain: Assessment of Stress and Needs for Caseworkers and Paraprofessionals Serving International Refugees

Drs. Saundra Starks, Dawn Wright, & Cheryl Wolf at NAC-WCCI, 2015This is an interprofessional qualitative needs assessment and delivery of resources and support for caseworkers and paraprofessional staff members providing services to the local international refugee population. Training for the staff has included deescalating crisis with clients, basic counseling skills, compassion fatigue and burnout, and combating violence: how to manage abusive homes. Data was collected through a series of focus groups at three agencies where case managers serve the refugee population. We presented preliminary results of our research during the Kentucky Counseling Association, Louisville, KY and North American Chapter World Council for Curriculum and Instruction (NAC-WCCI), Nashville, TN in November 2015.

This research team included Drs. Dawn Wright, Saundra Starks, and Cheryl Pence Wolf.

Grant funded: Wright, D. G., Starks, S. & Wolf, C. P., (2015, April 3). Caregiver Strain: Assessment of Stress and Needs for Caseworkers and Paraprofessionals Serving International Refugees. WKU ALIVE Center Community-Based Research Grant ($1,324).

Integrating Spiritual and Multicultural Competencies into Counseling

We explored the elective graduate course: Integrating Spiritual and Multicultural Competencies into Counseling at the University of Florida. We conducted a pilot study through focus group interviews of students who completed the Spring 2009 semester class. We adjusted the syllabus based on student feedback and ensured that the course objectives were in alignment with the new ASERVIC competencies (2009). I co-taught the course in Spring 2010 with Dr. Mary Fukuyama and we collected pre & post quantitative data (how students rate themselves on the 14 ASERVIC competencies) and post qualitative data (focus group interviews after completion of the course). We presented the results of our pilot study in a poster at the American Counseling Association Conference in March 2010 and presented the results of our completed study at the American Counseling Association Conference in March 2011.

This research team included Adrienne Baggs, Cheryl Pence Wolf, Dr. Ana Puig, and Dr. Mary Fukuyama.

Grant funded: Baggs, A., Wolf, C.P., Puig, A., & Fukuyama, M. (2009, May 22). Integrating Spiritual and Multicultural Competencies into Counseling: A Course Evaluation Study. University of Florida Center for Spirituality and Health Research Grant ($1000).

Spiritual and Religious Barriers in Supervision

Drs. Ana Puig, Adrienne Baggs, & Cheryl WolfAdditional research in this area is focused on exploring the spiritual and religious barriers in supervision and strategies to overcome those. We used a Delphi qualitative method where we look to the experts in the field to better understand the issues. We presented the results of our research study at the American Counseling Association Conference in March 2011 and published an academic article in the journal of Counselor Education and Supervision.

This research team included Dr. Chris Adams, Adrienne Baggs, Cheryl Pence Wolf, and Dr. Ana Puig.

Grant funded: Adams, C., Baggs, A., Wolf, C.P., & Puig, A. (2009, July 17). Spiritual and Religious Barriers in Supervision: A Delphi Study. 2009 Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Research Grant ($1000).

View the presentations and publications pages for more details on the research studies above.