[PAST EVENT] Faculty Research Brown Bag: Spirituality and Counseling

November 1, 2017
12:30pm - 1:30pm
School of Education, Room 2000
301 Monticello Ave
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location

Assistant Professor of Counselor Education Daniel Gutierrez will present his research on the intersection of spirituality and counseling.

Historically, counseling and psychotherapy have been embedded within a medical model that emphasizes psychopathology, diagnostic criteria, and symptomology. This emphasis has led to critical discoveries in interventions that focus on restructuring cognition and altering brain chemistry to combat mental illness and psychological distress. But, are human beings just a mind and body? Some scholars argue that the emphasis on a medical approach to counseling ignores the critical spiritual dimension of human nature, and research demonstrates that spiritual experiences, beliefs, and spiritual constructs, such as hope, meaning in life, mindfulness, and self-transcendence, have a significant influence on human functioning, including how individuals cope with addiction and mental illness.

Viktor Frankl referred to the spiritual dimension of human nature as the ?specifically human dimension? of our being, suggesting that to ignore the human capacity for transformation, inner strength, resilience, and human potential when attempting to understand human nature would be to vulgarize a human being, frustrate their drive for self-transcendence, and deny their human dignity.

The purpose of this talk is to discuss the often untapped resources for health and wellness found in the human spirit. We will discuss recent research on strength-based counseling approaches, the integration of meditation into counseling, and the shape spirituality and religion take when someone is battling health concerns like addiction, cancer, and mental health disorders. 

The Faculty Research Brown Bag Series is sponsored by the Office of Teacher Education and Community Engagement and the Center for Innovation in Learning Design at the William & Mary School of Education.