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UBC Theses and Dissertations

How people draw on spirituality and utilize counselling to create experiences of healing and wellness Gockel, Annemarie

Abstract

This narrative study explores the stories and experiences of people who draw on spirituality for healing and wellness. Twelve participants in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia were identified through the purposive sampling of educational and social networks. In order to qualify for the study, participants self-identified as drawing on spirituality for healing and wellness and as having received professional counselling services. Participants identified spirituality as integral to both their experiences of healing and to their experiences of facilitative counselling. In response to a broad variety of mental and physical health crises, participants developed a seven step process of spiritual exploration and development through which they created experiences of healing and wellness. This process includes: (1) openness, (2) shifting to a spiritual perspective, (3) going within, (4) connecting with spirit, (5) clearing, (6) setting a healing intention and (7) following one's inner guidance to healing and wellness. A minority of participants experienced counselling as lacking in spiritual integration and moved onto more spiritually focused practitioners or to other spiritually-based healing modalities. The majority of participants experienced counselling as a spiritual endeavor and identified the spiritually-infused counselling they experienced as an important part of their process of healing. Participants described spiritually-infused counselling as centred in the counsellor's ability to connect to the client on the level of soul and to demonstrate their own holistic development and personal healing in their approach to practice. This study demonstrates the importance of considering spirituality as a dimension of counselling practice.

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