Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Counseling

Course #61611 -


There is a growing recognition of the importance of the spiritual domain in the counseling process and the need for training materials and strategies for integrating the Association of Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC) competencies into the field of counseling. Although many counselors and educators endorse the spiritual competencies, there is little evidence that these competencies are being systematically and comprehensively addressed in counselors' training. This course summarizes the revised ASERVIC competencies, their relevance, and application in the counseling process, explaining why it is important for counselors to be proficient in each area before working with spiritual and religious issues in counseling. These competencies will enable counselors, social workers, mental health professionals, and allied professionals to develop a framework to assist them in understanding and working effectively with clients' spiritual and religious lives.

Education Category: Community Health
Release Date: 06/01/2023
Expiration Date: 05/31/2026

Table of Contents


This introductory course is designed for psychologists who work in clinical practice settings.

Accreditations & Approvals

Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibility for the content of the programs. NetCE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0240. This course is considered self-study by the New York State Board for Psychology.

Designations of Credit

NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 5 credit(s).

Course Objective

The purpose of this course is to assist psychologists in raising their level of expertise when working with clients who present with spiritual and religious issues.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the relationship between clients' spiritual/religious beliefs, worldviews, and psychosocial functioning.
  2. Outline the history and current role of the incorporation of spirituality and religion in counseling.
  3. Describe the similarities and differences between spirituality and religion, including the basic beliefs of various spiritual systems and major world religions.
  4. Discuss the influence of the counselor's beliefs, attitudes, and values on clients and the counseling process.
  5. Describe and apply various models of spiritual and religious development and their relationship to human development.
  6. Respond to client communication about spirituality and/or religion with acceptance and sensitivity.
  7. Consider clients' spiritual and/or religious perspectives when gathering information for the intake and assessment processes.
  8. Recognize when making a diagnosis that clients' spiritual and/or religious perspectives can enhance well-being, contribute to client problems; and exacerbate symptoms.
  9. Set goals with clients that are consistent with their spiritual and/or religious perspectives.


Katherine Greig, MSW, PhD, is the CEO of New Perspective Counseling Center LLC in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a trainer, consultant, and retired professor of social work. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master’s in Counseling Education from Cleveland State University. Later, she received a Master’s in Social Work and a PhD in Social Administration from Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Greig has worked in the fields of social work and counseling for more than 30 years. Her specialty areas include depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and Christian counseling. Dr. Greig is a certified Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) consultant, Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) specialist.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, Katherine Greig, MSW, PhD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Division Planner

Margaret Donohue, PhD

Division Planner Disclosure

The division planner has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Director of Development and Academic Affairs

Sarah Campbell

Director Disclosure Statement

The Director of Development and Academic Affairs has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

Technical Requirements

Supported browsers for Windows include Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 and up, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Supported browsers for Macintosh include Safari, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Other operating systems and browsers that include complete implementations of ECMAScript edition 3 and CSS 2.0 may work, but are not supported. Supported browsers must utilize the TLS encryption protocol v1.1 or v1.2 in order to connect to pages that require a secured HTTPS connection. TLS v1.0 is not supported.

Implicit Bias in Health Care

The role of implicit biases on healthcare outcomes has become a concern, as there is some evidence that implicit biases contribute to health disparities, professionals' attitudes toward and interactions with patients, quality of care, diagnoses, and treatment decisions. This may produce differences in help-seeking, diagnoses, and ultimately treatments and interventions. Implicit biases may also unwittingly produce professional behaviors, attitudes, and interactions that reduce patients' trust and comfort with their provider, leading to earlier termination of visits and/or reduced adherence and follow-up. Disadvantaged groups are marginalized in the healthcare system and vulnerable on multiple levels; health professionals' implicit biases can further exacerbate these existing disadvantages.

Interventions or strategies designed to reduce implicit bias may be categorized as change-based or control-based. Change-based interventions focus on reducing or changing cognitive associations underlying implicit biases. These interventions might include challenging stereotypes. Conversely, control-based interventions involve reducing the effects of the implicit bias on the individual's behaviors. These strategies include increasing awareness of biased thoughts and responses. The two types of interventions are not mutually exclusive and may be used synergistically.