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Arts & Humanities

Volume 13 Issue 8 Version 1.0 Year 2013

Type: Double Blind Peer Reviewed International Research Journal
Publisher: Global Journals Inc. (USA)
Online ISSN: 2249-460x & Print ISSN: 0975-587X

The Spiritual Competence Aspect in Counseling Service

By W. Aeshah Ameiha W Ahmad, Rohaizan Baru & Mohd Shahril Othman
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia

Abstract- The spiritual element plays an important role in the lives of humans. Numerous problems
have befallen humans due to individual misinterpretations regarding spiritual elements that have
eventually brought about self-induced stress and feelings of hopelessness. Hence, the emphases on
the spiritual aspect in counselling sessions will help to deal will this matter effectively. This article
discusses the need to involve the counsellors element of spiritual competence when implementing
counselling because it is related to the increase in function, competence and the mental health of the
individual. Good preparation and a well-grounded spiritual competence are needed by a counsellor
to implement the spiritual element more effectively during counselling sessions.
Keywords: spiritual competence, al-ghazalis theory, psychological theory.
GJHSS-A Classification: FOR Code: 130205p

The Spiritual Competence Aspect in Counseling Service

Strictly as per the compliance and regulations of:

2013. W. Aeshah Ameiha W Ahmad, Rohaizan Baru & Mohd Shahril Othman. This is a research/review paper, distributed under the
terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/),
permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction inany medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

The Spiritual Competence Aspect in Counseling

lives of humans. Numerous problems have befallen humans
due to individual misinterpretations regarding spiritual
elements that have eventually brought about self-induced
stress and feelings of hopelessness. Hence, the emphases on
the spiritual aspect in counselling sessions will help to deal will
this matter effectively. This article discusses the need to
involve the counsellors element of spiritual competence when
implementing counselling because it is related to the increase
in function, competence and the mental health of the
individual. Good preparation and a well-grounded spiritual
competence are needed by a counsellor to implement the
spiritual element more effectively during counselling sessions.

Keywords: spiritual competence, al-ghazalis theory,

psychological theory.



he need to prepare counsellors who are capable

and competent in coping and reacting adequately
towards the spiritual needs of the client is
increasingly becoming a reality (Burke et al., 1999;
McInnes et al., 2006; Myers & Wiliard, 2003). Cashwell &
Young (2011) said that counsellors are usually inclined
to look at clients from the basic or external aspects only
such as gender, age, race, socioeconomic status and
diagnosis. Counsellors often overlook the spiritual
aspects of clients when only considering the basic
aspects that are evident. They also encourage a more
holistic approach during therapy; one of the approaches
includes dealing with the clients problems on spirituality.
There are emergence of theories that
acknowledge and positively accept the spiritual aspect
related to mental health and psychotherapy. The legacy
of the theories set by Carl Jung, William James, Carl
Rogers, Abraham Maslow and Victor Frankl functions as
a suitable model for counsellors and therapist who are
working towards commanding an effective technique to
integrate spirituality in clinical practice (Frame, 2003).
The spiritual element has an implication on self-identity
and individual lifestyle. The function of the spiritual
element can be characterised as bearing the same
significance as the physical, emotional and cognitive
elements in achieving a quality lifestyle.

Authors : Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin 21300 Kuala Terengganu

Malaysia. e-mail: aeshahahmad@yahoo.com


Problem Statement

The integration of the spiritual element in clinical

practice has become an ever-expanding topic in
counsellor preparation programs. Programs that are
intended to deliver mental health professionals are
ready to adopt the paradigm of a more holistic kind of
treatment because a persons spirituality is associated
to who he is and how he navigates through the
difficulties and challenges in life. The personal spiritual
aspect of an individual has got an effect on his physical,
psychological and emotional well-being (Baetz & Toews,
2009; Cashwell & Young, 2011; Dilorenzo, Johnson, &
Bussey, 2011; Fabricatore, Handal & Fenzel, 2000;
Kliewer, 2004; Koenig, 2009; Larson & Larson, 2003;
Park, 2007; Seybold & Hill, 2011).
Although the literature pertaining to spirituality
and the preparation of counsellors has increased lately,
the number of literature related to acceptance of training
pertaining to the issue of spirituality is very little and its
expansion is very slow (Powers, 2005). Research has
somewhat shown that the significance of spirituality is a
dimension that has continuously being neglected in
educationist in the counselling field makes the minimum
preparations when offering this sort of training (Cashwell
and Young, 2011; Curtiss & Glass, 2002; Hage,
Hopson, Siegel, Payton & Difanit, 2006; Souza, 2002).
Counsellors who have unsolved problems pertaining to
their own religion and spirituality and are not adequately
trained in issues related to religion and spirituality are
actually contributing to feelings of uncertainty when
dealing with issues of religion and spirituality of clients
(Cashwell et al., 2007; Frame, 2003).
Spiritual training for counsellors has been
minimally inserted in courses related to cultural diversity
or offered as electives in degree programs (Briggs &
Rayle, 2005; Watkins van Asselt & Senstock, 2009).
Burke et al., (1999) supports the inclusion of the spiritual
element as a core in Council for Accreditation of
Counseling and Related Educational Programs CACREP
and iterates the increasing need in learning strategy.
The importance of discussing the role of spirituality in a
counselling lecturers is emphasized.
When discussing the issue of a counsellors
competence, hence the spiritual competence aspect is
one important element that needs emphasis. This view
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Global Journal of Human Social Science ( A ) Volume XIII Issue VIII Version I

Abstract- The spiritual element plays an important role in the

Year 2013

W. Aeshah Ameiha W Ahmad , Rohaizan Baru & Mohd Shahril Othman

Year 2013

The Spiritual Competence Aspect in Counseling Service

Global Journal of Human Social Science ( A ) Volume XIII Issue VIII Version I


is shared by Carkhuff and Berenson (1967) who said

that when someone possesses a high competent level,
it refers to people with the ability to utilize specific skills
effectively such as paraphrasing skills, listening skills,
confrontation skills, skills in making reflections and so
forth during the counselling process. Although research
related to spirituality is gaining a place in the world of
research abroad, hence in the context of research in this
country, there has not been many researches done
related to spirituality, especially related to competence
among counsellors.
There is a need to understand the level of
competency among counsellors in order to deal with the
spiritual issue adduced by the client. Not many studies
have focused on the preparedness of the counsellor
and the training they have received related to spiritual
competency, therefore, further research on the
competency of the counsellor in integrating spiritual
elements during counselling sessions is very important.
Based on research (Burke, Hackney and
Hudson, 1999 in Hall et al., 2004 and Shimabukuro,
Daniels and DAndrea, 1999) it was found that many
counsellors feel that they are not ready based on
knowledge and experience to touch on the spiritual
aspect because the spiritual aspects involves the
willingness of individuals to explore the attitudes and
beliefs of clients. Many studies have found that
counsellors are inclined not to get involved with the
spiritual aspect and the see the issue as a minor in the
field of counselling (Nurul Ain, 2004).
Counsellors these days need to equip
themselves with issues related to the importance of
religion and spiritual values in the counselling
profession. Complete training needs to be formulated so
that the public will want to meet a counsellor who uses
an approach or elements of spirituality as a platform
while carrying out the counselling sessions. In relation to
this issue, Burke (2001) said that counsellors need to be
proactive when helping to form a new society where
humans realize the importance of the relationship
between the mind, body and spirit. The famous
psychologist, Freud, for example, has since 1927
reiterated that religion is one valuable aspect of human
Religious and spiritual beliefs are important
components in culture, values and the view of
individuals towards the world. Many researchers have
elucidated the spiritual aspects as the source of
strength, social networking and guide in life (Sink, 2004;
Briggs et al., 2004; Worthington et al., 1996). Humans
usually turn to religious and spiritual sources as a guide
and emotional support especially during times of crises.
Studies have found that many clients are interested in
meeting a counsellor who is sensitive to the spiritual
aspect and has similar spiritual values and beliefs as
them (Everts and Agee, 1995). Hence, the spiritual
2013 Global Journals Inc. (US)

aspect is an important aspect that encompasses the

holistic approach in counselling.

The Objective of this Article

The specific objective of this article is to reveal

the importance of the element of spiritual competence
among counsellors when implementing their counselling
practice. Hence this paper is to introduce the al-Ghazali
approach in counselling in strengthening the religiousity

Spirituality in Counselling

Many researchers have discussed the

relevance of integrating the spiritual element in
counselling and psychotherapy (Bruce et al., 2004;
Belaire et al., 2000; Hall et al., 2004; La Torre, 2002).
Jung (1993) was one of the first western scholars who
said that all human problems are based on the spiritual
element. He said that the healing process would not be
completed without touching the spiritual element. The
function of the spiritual aspect is just as important as the
physical, emotional and cognitive aspects.
Religious and spiritual beliefs are important
components in culture, values and the view of
individuals towards the world. Both are the main
dimension in the everyday lives of humans. Research by
Sink (2004) has elucidated that the spiritual element is
the source of strength, social networking and guide in
life (Sink, 2004; Briggs et al., 2004; Worthington et al.,
1996). Humans usually turn to religious and spiritual
sources as a guide and emotional support especially
during times of crises. Sinks study also found that many
clients are interested in meeting a counsellor who is
sensitive to the spiritual aspect and has similar spiritual
values and beliefs as them. Hence, the spiritual aspect
is an important aspect that encompasses the holistic
approach in counselling.
According to Mac Donald (2004), individuals
who possess a positive spiritual identity will have an
affiliation and a feeling of close bond with God. They
have a high level of self-worth, have a purpose in life
and are able to fulfil their self-potential. Besides that,
they also have the ability to overcome emotional and
personal problems effectively. His research has found
that individuals who derive support towards their
spirituality and self-identity are able to get up and carry
on with building a healthy lifestyle.
Graham et al., (2001) who did research on 115
counselling students derived the same finding as Mac
Donald. The findings showed that the spiritual element
had a positive correlation in overcoming problems
related to stress. Students who possessed the religious
and spiritual element were healthy and had a better
resistance in confronting stress compared to students
who did not have the element. This study elucidated that
religion and spirituality play three roles when faced with

The Spiritual Competence Aspect in Counseling Service

This theory elaborates on the traits or properties

of humans according to the Al-Quran and Hadith and
also the observations of al-Ghazali himself. It is
congruent with Islamic knowledge, which is based on
Islamic scriptural postulation, which is divine revelation
and cognitive postulation, which is human rationality.
Although humans comprise the physical and spiritual
components, hence al-Ghazalis attention is more
towards the aspect of internal spirituality. This is in
tandem with his concept on knowledge, which is
corporeal knowledge and internal knowledge. Corporeal
knowledge is pertinent to worship and the usual
customs associated with the body. Internal knowledge is
revelation knowledge (mukasyafah) related to questions
of the heart (Yalimah Sarmani & Mohd Tajudin Ningal,
The aspect of human spirituality strongly
influences human life. It becomes the driving force
behind the conduct of the embodiment or otherwise
known as behaviour. Instinctively, the whole human
body obeys its heart. Al-Ghazali said that when man
transgresses or disobeys almighty Allah when he is
alive, he will feel uneasy and in distress because he has
broken his oath. Therefore, in order to safeguard his
heart from being stained by disdainful elements, the
individual needs to be apprehensive of his sensory
faculties because all the elements received by these
sensory faculties will stimulate the internal aspects to
react either positively or negatively.
Human philosophy according to al-Ghazali is
the internal aspect of humans, which are the emotions,
the mind and the soul that are strong and influenced by
all the stimulations received by the sensory faculties.
Positive stimulations evoke positive behavior while
negative stimulations evoke negative behavior. The soul
allows humans to live and makes the internal and
external aspects of the individual function.

a) The three categories of humans under al-Ghazali


Al-Ghazalis theory of counseling assumes that humans,

generally, belong to three categories. The first category

And I do not hold my own self to be free from

weakness; for, the soul is surely prone to enjoin evil,
save that whereon my Lord has mercy. Surely, my
Lord is most Forgiving, Merciful.
(Surah Yusuf 53)
The raging desire cannot be controlled well by
the heart. Moreover, if the heart cannot summon help
from knowledge, wisdom, prudence and rationality
hence, the heart will be destroyed. Therefore, an
individual that has plunged into behaviour that has
transgressed Islamic syariat, are uncouth, inhumane, act
undeterred, cruel and innumerable evil acts will bring
upon himself and his surroundings all the travesties and
misfortune. It is difficult to admonish or rebuke
individuals who possess a mind like this because they
are not sensitive to their mistakes or transgressions they
have committed. Lust lurks among the lowest ebbs of
human life, much lower than even that of animals
because animals lack wisdom. Animals act to fulfil their
basic needs in life so their effects are not as bad as that
of humans.
The second category is the raging desire that
causes the individual to neglect or transgress the laws
of Allah and to ultimately feel remorseful (nafs
lawwamah). Allah had exhorted, which means:

And I swear by the reproaching soul, that the

Day of Judgment is a certainty
(Surah Al-Qiyammah 2)
People who possess a mind like this are
remorseful of their wrongdoings and have the initiative to
repent. Hence, it is easy to self-correct and accept
reprimand from others. These individuals do not get lost
in the tide of self-destruction, either on earth or in the
after world. They often ponder on what are good and
bad, halal and haram, and sinful or non-sinful acts.
The third category is the raging desire for a
peaceful and righteous mind (nafs mutmainnah). Allah
had exhorted, which means:

[To the righteous it will be said], "O

reassured soul, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and
pleasing [to Him], And enter among My [righteous]
servants And enter My Paradise."
(Surah Al-Fajr 27-30)
One who has such a soul is able to control well
his raging desire for lust and is always inclined to do
Good. He does not forget the comforts of life and the
hardships he has gone through does not make him
agitated because his heart belongs to Allah.
He is resigned to accept the faith and tests of
Allah. According to al-Ghazali, nafs mutmainnah is the
highest level in the life of a man. Based on the verses
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V. Al-ghazalis Theory on Counseling

is lust (nafs ammarah), which is the raging desire to bow

and obey the wishes of sexual desire and the devil. Allah
had exhorted, which means:


Global Journal of Human Social Science ( A ) Volume XIII Issue VIII Version I

stress. It lends meaning to life, gives an individual some

form of control when facing situations and builds selfappreciation.
Findings by Graham et al., (2001) were
supported by Corey and Callahan (2203), which stated
that religion and spirituality are a source of healing and
lends strength, specifically when an individual is in a
critical situation. The spiritual element offers an element
of healing through introspection, whereby the individual
learns to receive, forgive him and others, admit to selfdeficiencies, accept responsibility, learn to overcome
disappointment, confront guilt, to rationalize thinking,
feelings and behaviour that are self-destructive.

The Spiritual Competence Aspect in Counseling Service

above, an individual who has reached this level will be

rewarded with a place in heaven.

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b) The level of human soul

Global Journal of Human Social Science ( A ) Volume XIII Issue VIII Version I


Hence, al-Ghazali has classified the human soul

to three levels, which is the low, intermediate and high.
The intermediate level is a transition point for the human
soul during his efforts of self-correction from the low
level to a higher level. The attainments of the different
levels of raging desire (nafs) in humans depends on
knowledge and training of the soul. For that reason, AlGhazali took a strong view on exposing the human
sensory faculties, as this would stimulate the internal
aspects. All the information and behavior will have an
effect on the heart, which will coerce the body to react.
When the internal aspects receive something good, the
outgoing instructions from the heart are also good.
Thus, only good virtues will emanate from the individual.
A calm countenance and decent behavior are
emanations of the inner self.

c) Human traits counseling approach by al-Ghazali

Imam al-Ghazali used the counseling approach

based on human traits. Imam al-Ghazalis Theory of
Counseling emerged based on human traits. Imam alGhazalis theory had given a positive impact on
counseling according the perspectives of Islam. Imam
al-Ghazalis Theory of Counseling does not use much
animals or humans as role models when applying his
theory. The correct technique in Islamic counseling uses
wisdom, good advice and discussions, mindfulness to
Allah, repentance (taubah), contemplation (tafakur),
prayers (doas) and formal worship (solat).
In the Islamic perspective, the spiritual aspect
involves a combination of aspects between the heart,
soul, mind and psyche. Al-Ghazali, for example, when
elaborating on the meaning of spirituality, had explained
that there were four main elements that form the basis of
spirituality in a man; such as raging desire to do evil (alnafs), the heart (al-qalb), the soul (ar-ruh) and the mind
(al-aql). According to him, these four elements play a
role in explaining the fact that humans have the ability to
gain knowledge. Discussions on the spiritual aspect is
more focused on the heart (al-qalb) because the heart in
like a king, who commands the other parts of the body.
Hence, the Prophet peace upon Him voiced to his
subjects to take care of their hearts because the good
and bad values of a person emanates from his heart.
Therefore, a counselor that uses this model
needs to know the characteristics of good behavior
(mahmudah) and bad behavior (mazmumah) and the
ways to practice the characteristics of good behavior.
The counselor plays a role in assisting his clients to
realize his mistakes and immediately repent.
The next step is to learn to be patient and
always be consistent to do well. The next step is to
safeguard decency or etiquette in every action taken by
the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him way of life
2013 Global Journals Inc. (US)

(sunnah) such as etiquette when having meals, attire,

main friends and so forth. The factor of halal and haram
also needs to be adhered too from the aspect of food,
attire or actions because it has an effect on the heart.
The heart needs to be taught to appreciate Allah
Subnahu wa ta'la and His grace, whether it is in the
form of good or the unfortunate.
At the same time, clients need to be
enlightened on the characteristics of bad deeds
(mazmumah) that are in them and they need to work
very hard to get rid of it. The danger of the tongue
involves acts such as bad-mouthing, cursing, empty
talk, bragging, excessive joking, singing until the point of
total distraction, teasing, lying and whistle blowing and
so on. This should be substituted by prayers, speaking
when necessary only and avoid mixing with people who
are a bad influence.
The Problems with human lives originates from
inclinations of the heart in understanding the nonphysical elements, which contradicts the laws of Allah or
the traits of Prophethood. An evil heart will force the
mind to fulfill its wishes. These acts of sacrilege
committed by man puts him in conflict with himself
because he has contradicted him instincts by neglecting
Allah. Allah knows better the needs of his subjects
because He created them.
To help the clients return to natural instincts that
shape life according to the ways of Allah (sunnatullah),
the counselor should posses basic knowledge related to
that. The client should be ready to cooperate to allow
him to be guided so that his problem would be solved.
When humans live life according to the syara, giving
priority to the righteous way and to behave as taught by
Prophet Muhammad peace upon Him, life than
becomes peaceful. Although there may be problems, it
is temporary in nature and not become chronic.
Problems arise because of lack of knowledge and being
This counseling model provides the basics that
can become a guide for counselors who may want to
use the Islamic approach. Continuous application will
improve its implementation more effectively according to
the clients suitability and the kind of problem faced. It
needs to be done with caution and wisdom according to
the teachings of Islam, which lays importance on
morality. Hence, all the counseling skills need to be
mastered first in order for the counseling process to be
implemented using the Islamic approach model more
Othman Mohamad (2000) introduced the AdDin Psychological Theory in an effort to fulfill the
spirituality element in the counseling theory approach.
He considered spirituality as a new classification to fill
the apparent void in humans. The aim of the Ad-Din
Psychological Theory is to create a new understanding
by using the clients determination and mind to generate


Spiritual Competence

The effects of the relationship between

counselling and spirituality are an evolution that is called

the Association of Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values

in Counselling (ASERVIC). IN October 1995, ASERVIC
sponsored the Summit on Spirituality in Belmont, North
Carolina in the US. This effort was initiated by a group of
lecturers in the field of counselling who were interested
in integrating the elements of spirituality into the process
of creating a professional counsellor (Cashwell and
Young, 2004; Young, Cashwell, Wiggins-Frame and
Belaire, 2002; Young, Wiggins-Frame and Cashwell,
This group suggested an encompassing
definition and a set of guidelines consisting of nine
competencies that were formulated to assist lecturers in
the field of counselling and for these counsellors to
integrate the spirituality element in counselling sessions.
The competencies that the counsellors should possess
are the ability to (a) to elaborate on the relationship
between spirituality and religion, including the
differences and similarities among the both, (b) to
provide a picture of the religious beliefs and practices in
the cultural context, (c) self-involvement in exploring the
religious and spiritual beliefs of an individual with the
intention of increasing the sensitivity, understanding and
acceptance of these beliefs, (d) to elaborate a persons
system of religious and spiritual beliefs and explain the
various models on spiritual and religious development
that stretches across a lifetime, (e) to exhibit sensitivity
and acceptance of the various expressions related to
religion and spirituality found in the clients
communications, (f) to identify the clients limitations or
level of understanding based on the expressions of the
client towards spirituality and to portray suitable referral
skills and general referral material, (g) to evaluate the
suitability of the spiritual dimension in therapeutic issues
adduced by the client, (h) to be sensitive and respect
the spiritual theme in the counselling process as a
priority set by the client, and (i) to utilize and benefit from
the clients spiritual beliefs in order to achieve the
therapeutic aims in tandem with the priority set by the
client (Cashwell and Young, 2004).
These competencies can be combined into four
integrated groups, which are (a) comprehensive
knowledge related to spiritual issues, (b) awareness
towards the spiritual views of an individual, (c) to
understand the spiritual views of the client, and (d)
spiritual intervention and techniques (Young et al.,
Chris (2006) did qualitative research to look into
the experiences of psychologists on the development of
practices in spiritual counselling. The research tried to
determine how psychologists changed themselves
when carrying out therapy sessions and the effects of
these changes on the spiritual therapy sessions. The
phenomenological-descriptive method was used to
evaluate the spiritual experience of the psychologists
and the effects on the therapy practices. Narrative
interviews were carried out on eight psychotherapists.
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Global Journal of Human Social Science ( A ) Volume XIII Issue VIII Version I

change. In the Ad-Din Psychological Theory process, he

explains five steps:
1. Exploring and understanding raging desire (nafs)
This level is important to evoke confidence and
support from the client that the counselor is
concerned about the client.
2. Diagnosis The counselor will discern and identify
the disturbing problems of the client in detail from
the thinking, emotional and behavioral aspect.
3. Exploring and understanding based on piety
(taqwa) The counsellor explores the clients
disturbing problems based on discussions,
guidance and giving information based on taqwa.
4. Endeavour and action A client who is successful in
solving his problems will eventually become an
appreciative person and if he fails, he needs to
repeat the process at the diagnostic level.
Othman emphasised that as a counsellor, one
needs to possess the traits of piety (taqwa) because
piety (taqwa) is between the processes of endeavour
and action technique of a counsellor. Hence, his
suggestion is that a counsellor who wishes to possess
the traits of piety (taqwa) should hold firm to the
characteristics of being meticulous (sidq), trustworthy
(amanah), propagate the message of Allah (tabliq) and
wisdom (fatanah).
Hushim and Ishammudin (2005) elaborated
about counseling from an Islamic perspective in tandem
with the views of Muhd Mansur (1993), which states that
counseling is a process to assist an individual to
understand himself so that he is capable of effectively
administrating his life towards the truth (al-haq) for a well
founded life on earth and the afterlife. They emphasized
on a few important aspects such as:
1. A process changes to the client, either
consciously or unconsciously, within a certain
timeframe. All these changes lead towards the truth
2. Helping an individual to help a client according to
the best efforts of the counsellor, to act rightly and
concertedly (istiqamah) in helping a client with his
problems. The counsellor needs to possess
characteristics such as unconditional acceptance,
easily contactable, sincere, empathy and openness.
3. Understanding the self the counsellor should ask
questions such as, what, why, how, who,
when and where. While referring to the client
based on aspects such as the strengths and
weaknesses and the potential in a client.
4. To manage life Clients should possess skills such
as for decision-making, thinking, an assertive
attitude, skills to overcome stress and so forth.

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The Spiritual Competence Aspect in Counseling Service

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The Spiritual Competence Aspect in Counseling Service

Global Journal of Human Social Science ( A ) Volume XIII Issue VIII Version I


namely; 1) the
The important themes involved
development of the continuing process, 2) exploring
spiritual beliefs, 3) involvement of the psychological
experiences, 4) system of internal spiritual beliefs, 5)
positive effects of the system of internal spiritual beliefs
and 6) the effects of the system of spiritual beliefs on
psychotherapy practices. The research found that the
development of spiritual experience of the psychologist
is related to the therapy practice, transformation of the
individual and the continuing process has an effect on
the approach to counselling.
James (2007) did a study related to
experiences of psychologists when they were with
clients during psychotherapy sessions. The aim of the
study was to look at the experience of the psychologist
when with the client during psychotherapy sessions, the
limitations and the meaning of spirituality for the
psychotherapist and the client during the psychotherapy
session and whether the psychotherapist delineate his
spiritual experiences and his religious experiences
during the psychotherapy sessions. There were ten
licensed psychotherapist involved in this study who had
at least three years experience in spiritual
psychotherapy. The interview was transcripted, recorded
and categorized in order to answer the research
questions and then analysed based on the researchers
interpretation. The categories and themes were obtained
based on the frequency of the characteristics portrayed
by the respondents. All ten respondents admitted to
having strong beliefs towards God but declined the
invitation to talk or discuss the issue related to
spirituality or religion in psychotherapy sessions. This
was because the respondents valued religion just like
traditional psychotherapy without spirituality. The
researcher found that his experience with the ten
psychotherapists was not something static but rather
something dynamic and a useful experience. The
respondents frequently experienced confrontations with
the client due to misinterpretation of meanings,
something that was unconceivable and difficult to
handle. Besides that, the researcher found that the
psychotherapist wanted to help the client to understand
the experience in psychotherapy through meaning and


The spiritual element plays an important role in

human lives. Various problems befall humans due to the
individuals misinterpretations of the spiritual element,
which eventually brings about stress and hopelessness.
Hence, emphases on the spiritual aspect in counselling
sessions will help overcome this matter effectively. The
involvement of the spiritual element is important
because it is related to elevating the function,
competence and mental health of the individual. Good
preparation and established competencies are needed
2013 Global Journals Inc. (US)

by the counsellor to implement the spiritual element in

counselling sessions more effectively.
Identification of the level of spirituality among
the counsellors in Malaysia is critically needed and
relevant to ensure that they administer counselling
sessions more competently and effectively according to
the wishes and needs of the client in the process, that
achieves their aim.
The role of spiritual and religious aspects is
important and is increasingly being recognised and
earning a place in the discipline of counselling.
Researches have proven that the involvement of
spiritual and religious aspects during evaluations and
counselling sessions contribute towards the efforts to
improve mental, physical and spiritual health of the
client. Besides emphasising the physical and
environmental aspects, we need to find the strength and
the spirited-will from religious and spiritual elements.
Hence, counsellors need to be prepared by establishing
competence, skills and knowledge in the spiritual aspect
in order to mutually support the governments intention
towards creating a Malaysian society that is courteous,
noble, and firmly committed to religion and spirituality.

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