Can Therapy Be A Spiritual Experience?

We are not human beings having spiritual experiences.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Theilard deChardin

Whether you consider spirituality to be about accepting a higher power or becoming “whole,” whether it is the search for the meaning in life, having a sense of transcendence or simply following your heart, the sacred has profound impact on our lives. Throughout our lives, consciously or not, we are on a spiritual journey to make some sense of the universe and understand our place in it.

Therapy is about turning. Indeed, the therapeutic process can play a tremendous part in the journey. Many of our clients come for professional help to better connect with others around the problems in their lives or within themselves. A few are in conflict with their religious teaching. Some are not able to experience a unity with anything because they are rushing to keep up. They don’t hear their own heart.

As therapists, we have some skill and background of experience, which enables us to give guidance and coach people to get past how they disconnect, so that they can connect with what’s best in them and with others. Though we’ve never said we offer “spiritual services,” we believe our work has a spiritual dimension.

Therapy approaches spiritual dimensions when creative connections occur between the therapist and client or couple. These connections may be warm, humorous, sharp, angry or full of sorrow, but they are REAL. In our experience, clients sharing their realities and having them openly received has healing power.

Much of what goes on in counseling and coaching is about turning mistaken beliefs into affirming, curative beliefs and behaviors. Being present for another’s turning is both a joy and a humbling, spiritual experience for us as therapists.

Therapists and clergy often deal with similar human problems. Our training may differ, but we think the goals are similar; the alleviation of human suffering and the health of the human spirit. Human beings have a core need to know that they are not alone, that there is value to their existence and in their love of others, and that they and their loved ones can be redeemed and released from their conflict. These are the very deep spiritual issues that come into our office every day.