Spiritual Psychology Careers
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What Is Spiritual Psychology?
Spirituality and religion are often very important parts of any culture. Houses of worship can be found in nearly every town and city in the world, and many people attend services regularly. Faith and religion even helps some people going during rough times in their lives. The simple fact is that spirituality has a huge impact on people's thoughts and behaviors.
Spiritual Psychology is a blend of spirituality and science. It uses elements of both traditional psychology and spirituality in order to help individuals feel better and more content with their lives.
Professionals in the field of spiritual psychology understand that the body, mind, and the spirit all work together, therefore, they must be studied together. Each of these elements must be healthy and "in shape" to achieve optimal harmony. This sometimes involves treating a fractured spirit, which is frequently a piece of the human puzzle that is ignored. In a way, spiritual psychology focuses on repairing fractured souls or replacing missing pieces of the soul.
Spiritual psychology has been around in some form for centuries. Catholic confession, for example, is a way for believers to acknowledge their sins and be forgiven for them, which often makes them feel better. Spiritual counseling has also been available to everyone who needs it for century.
Despite its popularity, spiritual psychology is still not recognized by the American Psychological Association. It does, however, have a division for the psychology of religion and spirituality, which is more focused on understanding the impact that these elements have on a person.
Why Do We Need Spiritual Psychology?
For many, a spiritual crisis can be a very upsetting event. It will usually have an impact on every part of a person's life, from their homes to their workplaces. Many people experiencing such a crisis will often feel stuck and confused, with nowhere to turn.
Spiritual psychology and spiritual counseling enables patients to better understand their own beliefs and work through that confusion. Spiritual psychologists can help individuals by allowing them to explore their spiritual side and work toward repairing any shattered pieces of their souls. These professionals can usually help people feeling despondent and dejected with a number of problems that can't usually be fixed with traditional psychological methods.
What are the Education Requirements for a Spiritual Psychology Career?
Aspiring spiritual psychologists should have an education that is a mixture of traditional psychology and spirituality, or religion.
A spiritual psychology career typically starts with a bachelor's degree in general psychology. This usually involves taking a number of psychology courses, including courses in developmental psychology, transpersonal psychology, clinical psychology, creative consciousness, and counseling psychology. Students interested in a spiritual psychology careers should also take classes in theology and religion, particularly eastern religions.
The majority of spiritual psychologists also hold advanced degrees, such as master's degrees and doctorates. If possible, an advanced degree specifically in spiritual psychology is best. Advanced degrees in counseling psychology with a concentration in spirituality are also sufficient.
Find psychology programs in your area using our Find a School page.
What Does a Spiritual Psychologist Do?
The main duty of a spiritual psychologist is to counsel people and help them to achieve spiritual wellbeing as well as mental and emotional wellbeing.
Many of the patients who seek help from a spiritual psychologist are going through spiritual crises. They need a comfortable atmosphere and a non-judgmental ear to listen to their problems and help guide them through the dark times in their lives. A spiritual psychologist can help his patients explore their spiritual paths in life.
He may encourage them to closely examine their own beliefs as well as alternative beliefs. A spiritual psychologist will also usually guide his patients with such things as meditation and altered states of consciousness. These actions can help patients become centered and will often lead to realization of and a better understanding of their own beliefs. Guided visualization is another popular technique used by spiritual psychologists. This involves a patient entering a state of altered consciousness while the psychologist speaks in a calm and even voice, urging them to explore a fictitious world that is representative of their sub-conscious mind.
In many ways, spiritual psychologists are also similar to counseling psychologists. These professionals listen to their patients' problems and help them work through them. They offer advice on how to better communicate, and calm and center themselves. See also: transpersonal psychologists.
Where Do Spiritual Psychologists Work?
Spiritual psychologists can often secure employment in a number of different places, such as churches, mental health facilities, and rehabilitation clinics. Spiritual psychologists can also choose to open their own practices. They might operate as spiritual psychologists or similar professionals, such as life coaches or personal growth counselors.
What is the Median Salary for Spiritual Psychologists?
Because spiritual psychology is, in many ways, an untraditional career choice, it is difficult to find median salary information for this profession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not record any salary data specifically for these types of psychologists. It does, however, record salary data for similar professions, like counselors. In 2009, the median salary for counselors was $44,400. This figure might be much higher or much lower for some spiritual psychologists, though, depending on their locations and the demand for their services.