Regarding Prayer as a Counseling Intervention
A review by
Summary The journal article that I reviewed studied the preference of a client in the integration of prayer in the professional counseling session. The article began by depicting the mental health practitioner’s increase of consideration concerning spirituality. Clients are asking specifically for a spiritual intervention when they are pursuing counseling. Not only do clients take their spirituality into consideration, but “half of mental health professionals claim some type of religious affiliation, believe that spirituality is personally relevant, and value personal prayer.” (Weld, Eriksen, 328) Christian counselors use prayer more frequently in their counseling sessions, as well as some secular practitioners claim to pray for their clients in the sessions. “80% of the US population believes in God and the power of prayer,” (Weld, Eriksen, 328) this statistic demonstrates the value and importance a client has when seeking counseling. We see in background of psychology and theology the disconnection of these two field of studies in the past years. Studies of integration of these two fields are not very prominent until recent notice due to the rise of spiritually inclined clients and mental health practitioners. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) has taken notice in the spiritual aspect as well, and included a section in their manual pertaining to, “Religious and Spiritual Problem.” Proper training in the area of spirituality is now needed in professional practice in order to implement well researched techniques into the counseling sessions. Research on prayer in the counseling session is an area of topic that has had few studies done in the past 10 years. The method for this study was “descriptive and correlational, surveying a convenience sample of clients seeking counseling with Christian counselors and each of their counselors.” (Weld, Eriksen, 330) Questions were asked by the researchers concerning the relationship between client and counselor over the issue of prayer in the counseling session. The participants in the survey consisted of 165 adult clients and 32 counselors. 65% of the clients were female and 36% were male. Therapist consisted of 66% were female and 34% were male. Both clients and counselors consisted of various ethnic backgrounds as well as various religious outlooks. The procedures that were implemented in this case study consisted of two instrumentations: The Prayer Survey for client’s participants, and the Brief Therapist Survey for therapist. The survey consisted of various questions concerning prayer in the counseling sessions in Likert-items. The results from the survey indicated clients do consider prayer of high importance in the counseling sessions. A significant analysis that resulted from the study concluded counselors had a “greater commitment to prayer interventions than clients expect for themselves.” This showed that some precautionary measurement should be taken by the counselor when integrating prayer into the counseling sessions. Proper training and education needs to be implemented in order for prayer to be edifying for the client and not harmful in the relationship with them.
I found this article very interesting and helpful for future reference. It was interesting to see the lack of research there is concerning this particular topic, but encouraging to the results that were found through this study. The article can help many counselors in the future as they integrate prayer into their counseling session. An area that I found thought-provoking pertains primarily to the number of clients that are for prayer to be integrated into the counseling session. This indicated that a majority of the population takes into consider their spirituality as well as