Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


A. Renee Staton

Michele Kielty

Lennis G. Echterling


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.