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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of Christian contemplative practice in helping professionals Rogers, Eleanor


Current literature in the field of counselling psychology shows a great deal of interest in spirituality, meditation techniques, and how these may be more fully included in counselling practice. There are very few studies that examine contemplative practices such as Christian Centering Prayer, and very few that look at professionals who hold these practices. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of people in helping professions who self-identify as having a Christian contemplative practice that includes Centering Prayer. By exploring these people’s experience of their contemplative practice in relation to their personal and professional life, the study reveals an area of counsellor development and professional practice that is rarely discussed. Hermeneutic phenomenology was used, and eight people from eight different professions were interviewed. Seven themes emerged from the interviews: (a) Changes in self-understanding and/or relationship with God, (b) Skills and learning related to thoughts and emotions, (c) Changes in personal relationships, (d) Quality of client and professional relationships, (e) Getting self out of the way, (f) Openness to others — sense of universality, and (g) Embracing life, mystery, and change. The study promotes greater awareness and understanding of contemplative practice and how its teachings relate to counselling and psychotherapy. As well, it offers insights into how these professionals integrate an understanding of spirituality into their work. Implications for practice and recommendations for further research are suggested.

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