Competencies for Psychologists in the Domains of Religion and Spirituality

January 1, 2016
Cassandra Vieten, PhD

Vieten, C, Scammell, S, Pierce, A, Pilato, R, Ammondson, I, Pargament, K I, & Lukoff, D. (2016). Competencies for psychologists in the domains of religion and spirituality. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 3(2), 92-114.


Religion and spirituality are important aspects of human diversity that should receive adequate attention in cultural competence training for psychologists. Furthermore, spiritual and religious beliefs and practices are relevant to psychological and emotional well-being, and clinicians who are trained to sensitively address these domains in their clinical practice should be more effective. Our research team previously published a set of 16 religious and spiritual competencies based on a combination of focus group and survey research with the intent that they could be used to guide training. In the present study, we conducted a survey to determine whether these competencies would be acceptable to a broader population of practicing clinicians. Results indicate a large degree of support for the proposed competencies. Between 73.0 and 94.1% of respondents agreed that psychologists should receive training and demonstrate competence in each of the 16 areas. The majority (52.2%–80.7%) indicated that they had received little or no training, and between 29.7% and 58.6% had received no training at all, in these competencies. We conclude with recommendations for integrating these religious and spiritual competencies more fully into clinical training and practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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