Document Type


Publication Date



Spirituality and religion are emerging in the literature as important areas of counselor competency. Not enough is known about the personal experiences of clinical supervisors with this topic. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the relationship between the personal spiritual and religious practices of counselor supervisors and their professional quality of life and ability to demonstrate the spiritual competencies described by the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC). A demographic questionnaire about spiritual and religious practices was created and two existing assessment tools were used to complete a cross sectional survey design to explore these relationships. The Professional Quality of Life Scale (Stamm, 2011), which includes the 3 subscales of compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress, was used to assess well-being. The Spiritual Competency Scale (Robertson, 2011) closely follows the ASERVIC spiritual competencies, and was used to measure spiritual competency. Eight hundred state counseling board approved supervisors were selected for participation from 7 different states, and 174 completed the survey for a response rate of 21.75%. Pearson correlations were calculated to explore the relationships between the frequency and importance of both spiritual and religious practices and the scores on the ProQOL and SCS. There was a significant (r=.186) inverse relationship between importance of spirituality and burnout, with supervisors who rate importance as low scoring higher on the burnout scale of the ProQOL assessment. SCS scores were positively correlated to spiritual and religious importance (r= .23; .24) and frequency (r= .29; .2). Supervisors who value and engage in their own spiritual and religious practices were more likely to be spiritually competent. Additionally, only 33% of clinical supervisors met the cutoff score of 105 for spiritual competence, indicating that most of them were not able to implement the ASERVIC competencies. This research provides a foundation for future research in the areas of spirituality and religion as a wellness strategy for supervisors and highlights the training gaps in spirituality and supervision that exist. Supervisors who engage in their own spiritual and religious practices and see these as important are more likely to be spiritually competent. There is a need for increased focus on training clinical supervisors to address issues of spirituality and religion in counseling. Additionally, supervisors should be encouraged to consider how their own spiritual and religious experiences might either support or hinder them as they learn to work with clients and supervisees around spiritual issues.


Originally published as dissertation the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling presented on November 21, 2016.