The Place of Spirituality in Psychology

When it comes to the co-mingling of psychology and spirituality, each has its own place. The scientific aspects of psychology are necessary in order to solve a wide range of problems and provide successful treatment to those in need. Still, spirituality can play a very important role in the rehabilitation of patients by making it easier to understand the psychological ramifications and why they exist. Spirituality and science can be used both during and after treatment. During treatment, religious beliefs may guide both the psychologist and patient toward making the right decisions and understanding difficult situations along the way. After treatment, religion can continue to help the patient as he or she moves onward through life while the scientific aspect may still remain present in the form of ongoing counseling or use of medication.

Psychologists can use both in their profession to make difficult decisions and deal with hard to solve problems. Aspects of each can be relied upon to provide the means by which to draw important conclusions that may help throughout the entire treatment process. Evidence has also shown that psychologists who know their profession but also possess strong religious beliefs are able to help their patients throughout treatment by passing on various virtues that promote positive thinking (Myers).

The end results of melding together both science and spirituality have been studied for a number of years. Some argue psychology should remain only a science while others feel the intertwining of science with religion can only serve to improve the overall outcome of treatment situations. The argument is also made that science as a whole has strong ties to religion and the two often give cause for the questioning of each other. Science can often prove what religion cannot and religion was the basis for the need to know, thus people began studying the how and why of scientific matters (Myers).

Some have explained the boundaries between psychology and religion by bringing up a few points that express how one relates to the other. One point is the correlation of scientific ideas presented in everyday human nature to religion and being able to site the information to show how it is all related. Another important point is the link between religion, prejudice, altruism and overall well-being (Myers).

When dealing with various psychological situations, it is just as important to realize the importance of the science as it is the religion. This is often difficult to do because of the differing beliefs and values possessed by each professional working in the field. Because of this, it is necessary for each to make decisions based on the psychological code of ethics along with the specific circumstances of each given situation. For those who are religious, spirituality will most likely play a role in the decision making process in a professional setting because it very likely does in any other. Those who utilize spirituality in day-to-day situations often rely on it to guide them in their professions. Though the psychological code of ethics may not have been created based specifically around the religious beliefs and values directly associated with spirituality, there are many similarities between ethical dilemmas and resolutions and those of a moral nature.

Correlations have also been reported between faith and subjective well-being. One example of this can be found in a National Opinion Research Center survey of 42,00 Americans that was conducted after 1972. Here 26 percent who never attended religious services reported being very happy while 47 percent of those participating in spiritual services on a regular basis, sometimes more than weekly reported also being very happy (Myers). Though this does not sho3w a direct link between religion and well-being, it does indicate that many people seek spirituality in various aspects of their lives. Whether the science of psychology and spirituality should be co-mingled in a professional setting can be a bit subjective as it is dependent upon the differing situations and those directly involved in the treatment processes. While there are correlations between the ethical code used by psychological professionals everywhere and the morality associated with religion, the two remain separate and can be called upon in any given situation where they may be deemed necessary or important. The code of ethics is used every day in the psychological setting, but whether or not spirituality is involved may be up to each professional working in the field.

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