Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions (General)
  1. What were your initial reactions as you began to read this chapter? Do you have further points to add to the list of reasons to avoid talking about spirituality and religion in the classroom?
  2. Are there any particular biases for or against this topic in your academic training program? Identify and discuss ways in which this topic can be made “safe” for exploration and discussion.
  3. Recall a time or place or experience that for you felt “spiritual.” Describe it in detail using your five senses and note the feelings that are associated with it.
  4. What is your personal story regarding your experiences with organized religion? What metaphor might represent your spiritual/religious story? For example, was it like a road winding through peaks and valleys, or was it like a container ship on a stormy sea?
  5. Who are some spiritual or religious role models (living or not) from whom you gain inspiration and insight? Describe the relevance of their wisdom to your life.
  6. How has your racial/ethnic and family background influenced your spiritual/religious development?
  7. Visit a religious/spiritual worship service (e.g., at a church, synagogue, or mosque) or meditation group (or the like) that is unfamiliar to your life experience. Discuss what you learned and what it was like to take part in a “religious diversity activity.”
  8. Do you have any experience with “religious wounding”? If so, can you journal about it and/or share your experiences with a trusted friend/counselor?
  9. Do you have any experience with a “spiritual bypass”—that is, using a spiritual excuse to avoid necessary psychological work? If so, can you journal about it and/or share your experiences with a trusted friend/counselor?
  10. Review the various types of spiritual interventions and identify those that would be a comfortable fit for you (or not). Discuss your choices.
  11. What do you see as your strengths in engaging in spiritual/religious issues in counseling?
  12. For which clinical issues might you need further training and supervision before engaging in spiritual/religious interventions?
Discussion Questions (Critical Incident p. 492)
One response to the shooting incident from a campus Sikh group was to sponsor a “wear a turban day,” during which all students were encouraged to wear turbans and interact with Sikh students to learn more about Sikhism.
  1. Would you join in such an activity?
  2. If so, how do you imagine your friends and family would react?
  3. How can you be an ally for members of religious minority groups?