Integrating spirituality and religion with counselors-in-training in practicum : a look at competence and comfort level
Ruffin, Nikki Renee
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In the past 20 years, the counseling profession has increased the amount of research and focus on integrating spirituality and religion into applied practice, curriculum, and supervision. In the last few years, some have argued that spirituality is the fifth force in the counseling field. The purpose of this study was to (a) explore counseling students' exposure to religious and spiritual issues in counseling (SRIC) practica and their comfort with addressing SRIC with clients, (b) explore counseling students' exposure to an intervention of SRIC practica and their perceived competence with addressing SRIC with clients, and (c) assess the impact of an SRIC intervention that was based on the ASERVIC competencies on counselors-in-training (CITs) in regard to their comfort level and perceived competence addressing SRIC. Results revealed that an SRIC intervention had a positive impact on CITs' perceived comfort and perceived competence integrating SRIC and that there was a positive correlation between their perceived comfort and perceived competence scores. Institutional accreditation type, religious versus secular institution, and religious self identification had no effect on increased comfort and perceived competence of CITs for this study. Implications for counseling practice, practicum supervision, and counselor education pedagogy are discussed.