Spirituality | Religion
While the above quote is a wonderful sentiment and one which many people agree with, the reality is that there are many individuals who don't have this same sentiment or experience.
The Counseling Hub works with people from all walks of life, including all religious and spiritual orientations. Our speciality is in healing from religious or spiritual wounds, as well as in helping individuals develop a spiritual or religious identity.
Religion and Spirituality
One thing to note is that religion and spirituality are not the same thing. Yes, there are lots of overlap between the two, but they do not equal one another. Religion is usually accompanied by a body of followers, creed, specific practices, an institution of some sort, and a set of beliefs, or values that can serve as guidelines for living life.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is way more fluid, personalized, and independent. It doesn't have to have a body of followers, a leader, creed, or specific practices, and it usually doesn't take place in (nor is it affiliated with) an institution. Spirituality is significantly more open to interpretation and, again, highly personalized.
Not to make this more confusing, but one can be either a) religious and spiritual, b) religious but not spiritual, c) spiritual but not religious, or d) neither religious nor spiritual. We're not here to judge where you are, nor are we going to attempt to force you to believe any certain thing. If you come in and want to develop as a Lutheran, perfect! If you come in and want to explore Spiritual Naturalism, also perfect! We can and will meet you where you are and help you to reflect on how you want to develop within your set of beliefs. However, we are not preachers, pastors, ministers, rabbis, or religious leaders (or experts) of any kind. We cannot educate you on the specifics of a particular faith or practice, but we can help you to explore.
Harmful Experiences from Religion or Spirituality
While this might seem taboo to even talk about, there are many people who have not had good experiences with religion or spirituality. In fact, some people have been harmed, in that they've internalized messages (or believed messages to be true) that conflict with who they are at their core. For one simple example, some religions believe that being gay, lesbian, or bi (among other things) is a major sin and that it can be repaired through certain kinds of therapy. These 'certain kinds of therapy' a) aren't effective, and b) do significantly more harm than good. You might know if you've been harmed by religion or spirituality if you feel:
- wounded by religion or spirituality
- angry at the church
- as though residual messages can't leave your head (and are holding you back in life)
- sad and confused by religious or spiritual messages
- disheartened about religious or spiritual practices
- a growing disconnect between your religion or spirituality
These are all reasons why one might seek out counseling in this area (and there are more).
Developing in Religion or Spirituality
Becoming more religious and spirituality might be the route you want to take if you know you want to:
- consisntely practice religion or spirituality
- grow as a religious or spiritual being
- find a religion or spirituality that fits for you, personally
- incorporate teachings from your religion and spirituality into life
All of the above are ripe for counseling. As licensed professionals, we can help you critically think and analyze how religion and spirituality can fit into your life (and how you want to develop in that way), as well as discern what aspects of your religion or spirituality were the most harmful, how, and what new beliefs and practices we need to adopt in order to heal.
Still Not Sure?
Hey, religion and spirituality are taboo in our society. We don't want to offend others and we don't want to be offended when talking about these things. Counseling, again, is a great avenue for having hard conversations about religion and spirituality, as well as asking yourself hard questions about your beliefs. It can be a scary and overwhelming undertaking, but we can assure you that you're in safe, capable hands with The Counseling Hub.