Attending to the spiritual lives of clients in psychotherapy: An integrative approach to treatment

Dean Edward Hammer (2003)

The primary purpose of this dissertation is to conceptualize a theoretical framework for a psychotherapy approach that attends to the spiritual lives of clients. A therapeutic approach to spirituality is developed based upon an integration of the work of Frankl (1963, 1973, 1978), Frank (1973, 1974, 1978), and Griffith and Griffith (2002). Principles and methods of assessment and intervention are derived from these primary sources by employing the methodology for developing integrative models presented by Arkowitz (1997). The treatment model integrates the theories and techniques of the three primary sources based upon commonly held principles of constructivism. Cognitive existential (Ottens and Hanna, 1998) and cognitive narrative (Goncalves, 1995) principles and methods are also incorporated in order to address the core existential issues of meaning, purpose, and belonging. A process for evaluating and treating existential crisis states is proposed as a pathway for attending to spiritual problems. The treatment process aims to restore morale (Frank, 1974) through the narrative repair of maladaptive ontological core schemas and the resolution of existential dilemmas. A method for evaluating the proposed treatment model and the implications for practice, research, and training are delineated.