Conclusion And Contraindications

In summary, the milieu I wish to create in group is one that is psychospiritual in nature without being heavy handed about either side of the polarity. First, I do this by welcoming the spiritual into what is a psychological domain in my preparatory work for group treatment. Second, I use my own understanding and experience of the linkage between the two to foster and encourage that in the group members. I do not proselytize or convert people to my view. Third, I seek for a common language and phenomenology that interconnects the spiritual and the psychological, in this case, I emphasized the notion of self and its development.

My job then is to serve as a psychospiritual guide, assisting the individual to a place of acceptance and integration by first emphasiz ing the universality of his or her pain and shame, saying for example, "Isn't that true for all of us?" This statement is more inclusive and reflects the reality of our shared humanity, which is more alike than not. A spiritually informed stance reflects the reality of an underlying belief that God, the transcendent, the sacred one, is kind, compassionate, forgiving, and accepting of the fact that we are sometimes all too human and that we encounter this God through our basic humanity and human experience.

This perception must necessarily involve the full picture of the individuals, their shortcomings, and "bad" aspects. If group members and the leader can bear to be flawed and limited in the presence of one another, change can begin to take place.

In general, there appear to be no contraindications about dealing with religious or spiritual issues. Although addressing such issues with more severely disturbed clients seems contraindicated, there is clinical evidence that addressing spiritual issues with this population can actually be therapeutic (Kehoe, 1999). The one instance when caution must be exercised occurs when such issues arise in groups with members who may have experienced abuse or trauma from religious authorities or due to the organizational structure of their ecclesiastical institutions. In such cases one must wait for indications that the individual is ready to engage such issues productively.


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Kehoe, N. (1999). A therapy group on spiritual issues for patients with chronic mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 50(8), 1081-1083.

Merton, T. (1965). No Man is an Island. Garden City, NY: Image Books.

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