Spirituality and Psychotherapy: Beginning a Discussion Through an Emotion-Focused Therapy Lens

Dr Toni Tidswell

I have been interested in the influence of spirituality in the therapy room for as long as I have been a psychotherapist. This includes spirituality as a personal commitment either within organised religion or as a purely personal way of being, and either a commitment of a client or therapist, or of both. Recently a colleague, Sue Olds, proposed a one-day workshop on Spirituality and Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) at the Institute for Emotionally Focused Therapy (IEFT), and we presented the workshop together in 2013. In 2014, I presented further material on this topic at the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) conference in Sydney, and this article puts together those presentations and some further reflection. I am conscious that there is a scarcity of research with a specific focus on spirituality and EFT, and I hope by offering this paper, I can give more impetus to the discussion and research on this topic.

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Lifting the Lid Off My Heart: Integrating Emotionally Focused Therapy and Christianity in Clinical Practice

Sue Olds

For years, I have been interested in the integration of clinical practice with my faith. I know I’m not alone in this endeavour. Simply put there can be difficulties for Christians aligning humanistic therapies (such as EFT) with their faith. I wanted to share my current understanding of integration and some ideas of how the two disciplines can dovetail and facilitate the healing process. Furthermore, I felt compelled to share a journey that I believes speaks to this better than I can. 

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HEART & SOUL – A Duet in E.F. Major

Dawn Smith

I was drawn to write this article as a response to my concern for many of my Christian clients and their harsh theological worldview. How could I work respectfully with these beliefs when they were so contrary to the Christian gospel and were detrimental to their wholeness and well being? As I pondered what I should "do" I realised that my "being" was already at work through the Emotionally Focused therapeutic relationship. A parallel process was unfolding emotionally and spiritually. Their hearts and souls were healing together.

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Out of the Miry Bog

Kay Djoeandy

Since becoming a counsellor after working in pastoral ministry for many years, I have been particularly interested in how psychology and spirituality intersect. I believe there are wonderful, untapped healing resources in Christian faith practices that can be used therapeutically and consistently with psychological principles. I wanted to explore how the Psalms of the Bible could be one of those resources. 

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The Longing to Belong

Yasmine Wahab

This article stems from my lifelong question of what makes us belong. Do we belong to a place, to people? What is the bone marrow of our identity, our self concept? And how is the development of this self concept affected if our ethnic/social identity is multi-layered in the case of 'third culture kids' or 'global nomads' who have spent a significant part of their developmental years in a foreign country. And how can this interior view that our clients have of themselves be effectively addressed when presented as a vulnerability in therapy. I wrote this article in 2010 as part of my qualification for the Graduate Diploma in Emotion Focused Therapy because while it may be easy to identify the richness that diversity brings, the shadow experience of global mobility and 'being both' can often be left unexplored.

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How EFT Therapists Work with Clients from Chinese Culture

Iris Siu Yin Yip

This piece came about as a result of a conversation with my supervisor. She suggested I look at how I utilise my  Chinese background and integrate it with Emotionally Focused (EF) work. I began to research and reflect on how to integrate my understanding of the Chinese culture with Emotionally Focused principles and interventions. I hope to share this paper with other EF practitioners who have been trained from a Western individualistic culture in the hope that it enhances their EF work with Chinese clients. 

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