Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Renee Staton, Ph.D.

Michele Kielty, Ph.D.

Lennis Echterling, Ph.D.

Abstract

As a counselor, how does one sit with others who have experienced a dramatic change in their belief system and values? This paper seeks to identify the effects of a significant change in values or beliefs on young adults and the recovery of the spiritual dimension of their lives. Spirituality, defined as an individual's inner process to define their purpose, meaning, and values through a connection to others (which may include God) and themselves, is an increasingly important component to consider in assessment and therapy. The case study of Angela and the personal journey of the author illustrate the psychological distress individuals can experience when undergoing a change in values or beliefs. Approaches for assessing spiritual and religious elements in individuals as well as ways in which the counselor may approach these issues are identified including a discussion of the reluctance of some counselors to address these issues. In essence, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of religious or spiritual practices and the positive and negative implications of belief change can assist in understanding the process in college-aged young adults.

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