Date of Award

Fall 11-17-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mark McMinn


In order to become culturally competent psychologists, doctoral students must undergo their own process of self-reflection, including personal exploration of religious and spiritual issues. This can prove difficult insofar as many doctoral programs in psychology provide relatively little instruction in religious and spiritual issues. Even among those programs that specialize in religion and spirituality, a shifting of personal faith typically occurs over the course of doctoral training. This study is a step toward understanding the faith experiences of students in one explicitly religious doctoral training program. Faith experiences among students in the George Fox University Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology (GDCP) have been studied before, but not since the GDCP implemented spiritual direction as a program requirement. Results indicate that students continue to experience changes in their faith experiences, likely due to many previously hypothesized reasons such as fatigue, eroding of faith, and possible rearranging of faith (Fisk et al., 2013). Students who report a more favorable experience with their spiritual director reported more willingness to collaborate with clergy for client care. This study continues to raise more questions regarding what can be done to better inform, protect, and encourage the spiritual development of students throughout graduate training in professional psychology. Moreover, it brings into light the possibility of better preparing and training graduate students in collaboration with faith professionals to better meet clients’ treatment needs in a holistic way.

Included in

Psychology Commons