London: seminar on psychotherapy and religion

 An open seminar on: 'The Integration of Spirituality into Psychotherapeutic Practice' takes place at the University of Westminster next Thursday. The speakers will be Dr Adrian Coyle and Dr Valerie Suarez, from the University of Surrey. The event is hosted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Westminster. Traditionally, psychotherapists have often pathologised spirituality and religion and distanced themselves from this domain. However, there is evidence to suggest that contemporary psychotherapists from a range of theoretical backgrounds are becoming more interested in incorporating spirituality (both their clients' and their own) within their practice. This poses many challenges because of lack of training and because sometimes spiritual and psychotherapeutic discourses diverge significantly. The study that will be described in this presentation aimed to produce an account of practice possibilities in this domain using a 'key informant' approach and to develop a localised theory of the assumptions, meanings and challenges associated with the integration of spirituality and psychotherapy. Interviews were conducted with ten psychotherapists who described themselves as having a 'deep interest' in spirituality and who reported having at least sometimes integrated spirituality into their practice. Data were subjected to grounded theory analysis and a theory of the integration process was produced. At the heart of this lay five categories which related to discerning the border between spirituality and psychotherapy, seeing psychotherapy as intrinsically spiritual and integrating spirituality at discursive, theoretical and experiential levels. The implications of this study for psychotherapeutic practice and training will be considered. The seminar is next Thursday, 13 November, from 5pm-6pm in Lecture Theatre 4, The University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London, W1. Admission is free.

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