Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)




Clinical professionals in the disciplines of counseling and family therapy, despite the many decades of separation between spirituality and science, currently face the challenge to attend to the spiritual realities and resources of clients' stories. As spirituality, an aspect of therapeutic diversity, moves increasingly to the forefront of counseling and family therapy literature, many clinicians still find it uncomfortable or difficult to negotiate the experiential path of addressing spirituality in practice. Although the need to address spirituality and religion is recognized, there continues to be a lack of conceptualization and methodology to guide the training experiences and preparation of clinicians. Little is known about how the spiritual beliefs, practices, and training experiences of graduate therapists impact the therapeutic process; therefore, it is important to examine the education and supervision needs of clinicians in the area of spirituality and religion. This project focuses on learning experiences that facilitate effective inclusion of spirituality in counseling and family therapy, with the intention to create new possibilities for clinical educator-supervisors to enhance program development and clinical supervision. The outcome of this study will facilitate the awareness of spiritual formation as a phenomenon of human maturation and contextually-sensitive therapy/supervision, provide a process to connect spirituality with a personal ethic of practice, conceptualize a framework for spiritual formation, and implement clinical methods that integrate spirituality into the practice of counseling and family therapy. Chapter 1 introduces the problem narrative as it emerges out of the current therapeutic context, provides descriptions and definitions of terms relevant to this project, and outlines the need for a research narrative. The inclusion of spirituality is applied to three predominant components of clinical work including the process of therapy, the therapy system, and therapists' stance. Chapter 2 presents the metaphor of co-creation as the process whereby spiritual formation occurs in therapeutic conversations. The theological concept of perichoresis, the circle dance of the triune God in Chapter 3, describes the relational context for the supervisory system. The characteristic life of the communal Trinity is applied to the triadic working relationships of clients, therapists, and supervisors. Chapter 4 looks at the person and place of supervisors and presents a way of being in leadership that demonstrates a "not-knowing" stance. From this position of curiosity and collaboration, supervisors offer an invitation to include spirituality and spiritual formation in counseling and family therapy. A methodology including four clinical competencies is set out in Chapter 5. The initial focus is on personal development of the self-as-therapist, followed by practical and experiential resources for assessment, interventions, and theoretical integration. The concluding chapter includes stories from collaborative conversations that illustrate the thesis of this project.

Included in

Christianity Commons