How about Spirituality and the Constructive Perspective?


The second most popular blog post in the history of time is about the distinction between social constructionism and constructivism. Since I’m sure you want to do what’s popular, here it is: https://johnsommersflanagan.com/2015/12/05/constructivism-vs-social-constructionism-whats-the-difference/

Wait. I constructed that reality. It would be more accurate to make it clear that my bold claim only pertains to my little tiny blog. The constructivism vs. social constructionism averages about 21 hits a day. Whether that makes it popular or not depends on our agreed-upon definition of popular.

We currently live on a planet where people get away with labeling anything they personally disagree with as “fake news.” For many of us, this may have shaken our trust in all things real. Of course, that doesn’t justify me lying. about my so-called popular blog post. In fact, it may  be all he more important for me (and everyone) to be more diligent about the truth.

But this week I’m posting about spirituality and constructive counseling and psychotherapy theory. That means we question reality; it doesn’t necessarily mean we should lie.

Here’s the section from Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice.

Constructive Theory and Spirituality

For constructive theorists and therapists (aka narrative and solution-focused practitioners), spirituality and religion are either (a) individual or (b) social constructions. That doesn’t mean faith is unimportant or irrelevant. In fact, narrative and solution-focused approaches can attract highly religious and spiritual individuals. However, within the scientific literature, there aren’t many publications focusing on the integration of spirituality and constructive therapies.

A PsycInfo title search identified only a handful of publications combining solution-focused or narrative and religious or spiritual. These included an article on solution-focused counseling with clients who have spiritual or religious concerns (Guterman & Leite, 2006) and a meta-analysis of spiritual/narrative interventions on quality of life among cancer patients (Kruizinga et al., 2016).

Guterman and Leite (2006) proposed implementing a standard solution-focused approach with clients who have religious or spiritual problems. They reasoned that because problems are socially constructed and can be addressed via solution-focused strategies, then religious or spiritual problems could be addressed in the same manner. In particular, they advised that the change process involve helping clients to identify and amplify exceptions until the problem is resolved (p. 45). Further, they recommended that a thorough understanding of client worldview was needed to facilitate generation of appropriate and effective solutions.

In the meta-analysis of spiritual/narrative approaches with cancer patients, 12 trials with 1,878 clients were included. Results indicated a moderate immediate effect on overall quality of life (d = 0.50). However, at 3–6 months, the quality of life was no longer significantly improved. The researchers recommend additional studies to understand better how spiritual/narrative interventions might come to have a longer-term effect.

Overall, the crossroad of spirituality and constructive counseling and psychotherapy doesn’t have much traffic. This leaves open great possibilities for further explorations, including the chance to drive brand new thesis and dissertation projects down (or up) this wide-open road.

This photo constructs a reality wherein my long-time friend Neil and I are still only 18-years-old.

Neil and John

 

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