Nelson, Roberta; Ph.D.
Program of Human Development, Counselor Education;
College of Human Development and Education; North Dakota State University
Introducing Spirituality to Counselors-in-Training From a Psychosynthesis and Anthroposophical Perspective
Major Professor: Dr. Robert C. Nielsen
The research problem underlying spirituality in counseling is one of reductionism. The deficit is twofold: (a) there are relatable psychospiritual models that are presently excluded from counseling literature, and (b) there is a question as to whether contemporary counseling theory and practice can provide comprehension of the spiritual dimension. Two research questions directed the study: (a) How is the spiritual dimension perceived by counselors-in-training? (b) What are the experiences of counselors-in-training in a seminar that introduced spirituality in counseling from the standpoint of psychosynthesis and anthroposophy? The inquiry utilized qualitative heuristic methodology including (a) information from pre- and post-seminar interviews with former being a semi-structured and later being an unstructured format; (b) a 15-hour seminar generated data from reflective pauses, experiential exercises, and a summation activity; and (c) data from the debriefing team illustrated the experiences of nine research subjects. Research subjects’ perceptions and experiences of spirituality in counseling revealed the following patterns: (a) spirituality is a belief system, faith, higher, a quality, an intercessory being, a life-plan, individualistic, and includes, but is not, religion; (b) spirituality in counseling was excluded from coursework, but inclusion valued; (c) the experience of psychosynthesis and anthroposophy in an introduction seminar prompted learning patterns which were perceived as worthwhile.