Is it appropriate for a psychotherapist to let their clients or prospective clients know they are of one religion or another?
In fact, is it really even wise for a company that sells a product to make that information available?
“Still, it’s risky for brands to affiliate themselves with a religion directly. Since it’s just a polarizing subject, it often opens companies up to controversy.” Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/17-big-companies-that-are-intensely-religious-2012-1?op=1#ixzz2XwoI81xB
By referring back to my original post, you can see what I think about that. http://tracylamperti.com/2012/11/02/my-new-blog/
My husband recently told me about a news story he read about companies that are open about their Christian faith. It got me thinking, “I can be open about my faith too! Right?” Just 10 years ago, it posed a great business risk for me to let my colleagues know I was a Christian.
Given that I am no stranger to my profession, I wanted to share a few things about my faith/my psychotherapy-consultation practice and how they mix or don’t mix. I am proud to say that I have a very good alliance with many local schools, medical offices, police/fire departments, courts, churches, etc…
Many professionals make referrals to me NOT knowing that I am a Christian. In fact, I have only a small percentage of professionals who refer to me BECAUSE I am a Christian.
There may be some professionals or other adults who maybe have heard of me locally or through blogs like http://www.capecodmommies.com/ who, by CHANCE, or by researching a bit about me, learn that I am a Christian. There are people who would then decide, “We aren’t looking for someone to talk to us about God. Best to move on.” Sometimes, many assumptions are made. I’m sure that people move on when they see “Christian” in any association with my business.
I have worked with people for 3, 6, 9 months or longer who never talk with me about their faith or mine. In these instances, besides asking generally if they have faith or are strengthened by any particular belief, it is not a topic that we discuss. I am perfectly capable of carrying out my professional responsibilities without an aspect of faith.
On the other hand, there may be Christians who come to me, in part, because I am a Christian and they want to know, “Will all of my services be faith-based? Will I pray with them?” The answer is no, I do not practice faith-based counseling exclusively. These services would be more appropriately served by a pastor or clergy. I am merely a student of the Bible, not a theologian. And the answer is yes, I will pray with you if you ask. It would be very unlikely that I would suggest that we pray.
In no particular order….
- I am nothing more than anyone sitting on the couch across from me. I possess professional counseling skills, training, experience and expertise that the other person may not possess, and I have worked to resolve some of my own issues, which qualifies me sit in my banana chair. (I love my yellow chair, but anyone who enters my office is welcome to sit there. I like the couch also:-) HUMILITY
- One quality of my professional approach is to be fairly straightforward. I happen to be a very sensitive person. I do not think I have it in me to hurt another person’s feelings on purpose (not that I haven’t ever hurt someone’s feelings). I worry very much about people feeling bad, whether caused by me or nothing to do with me. It could be said that some can be knocked over by a feather and others, it would take a freight train. I have worked very hard and had very extensive experience in assessing whether my client is the feather type or freight train type. I also have extensive experience with the timing of interventions. Not all pieces of information can be heard at all times. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE.
- My most influential teacher, Cesareo Peleas (Le Grand David), whom I studied with for 2 years, who in addition to being a psychologist and professor was also a magician and whose mentor was Abraham Maslow – the famous Humanistic Psychotherapist, taught me, “Psychotherapy is, ‘Genuine Need Gratification.'” If having a cup of coffee with your “client” meets a genuine need then you have done psychotherapy with them. We are all human. We all have the same basic human needs and instincts. As a psychotherapist, I work to see what basic unmet needs are interfering with genuine fulfillment. I am by no means comparing myself to Jesus, but with Jesus as our example, I will step on to any path that a person is on and walk with them, no matter the depth of pain or shame. BROTHERHOOD
- Everyone has a gift. Someone may have come for my services, but they have a gift. or many gifts that I don’t even know about. I am the expert in the room, for what someone has come for help with, but in another arena, they would likely be the expert. It’s my job to help tap into whatever resources the person may have. GOD GIVEN GIFTS
- A great many of our problems are a result of our own choices and our selfish attempts to make ourselves feel good. I know this because of my own self. As the culture shifts and twists we lose focus. Staying focused on a higher power or on a spiritual peace is one of the best ways to be grounded. FOR ME, THAT FOCUS IS BIBLICAL TRUTHS. There are many commonalities between Biblical Truths and the teachings of Jesus, with other beliefs. It might come as a surprise that many phrases that we use in our culture some from the Holy Bible;
So when someone comes to me for my services, do I talk with them about God? Not necessarily. It would be unfair for me NOT to ask where a person draws their strength from. If they draw it from the ways of the Buddha, wonderful. I see many ways of peace through the teachings of the Buddha. My faith is in the Lord, not Buddha. But we still connect. I am not Jewish, but the Christian shares the whole Old Testament with the Jew. If your way is through the Wicca, so be it. It is not my faith, however, I will not advise you of your faith or seek your conversion to my faith. If your faith is very important to you, you wish to incorporate it with your psychotherapy goals and you have a different faith than I, it would be likely that you have researched and/or interviewed a variety of psychotherapists to find one in your faith community.