Mental Health and Spirituality


Spirituality is a wide-ranging subject that has many different interpretations. For some, it means religious practice; believing in God and following the laws and traditions of a religion. For others it could mean yoga, meditation, expansion of consciousness or a spiritual awakening. And for some, it is about being of service, or giving back to the world.

Spiritual practice may include the recitation of texts that are foundational to a particular tradition. For example, the reading and contemplation of sutras is a spiritual practice found in all traditions. It is also the process of going deeper into the spiritual teachings and understanding them better through the study of textual and commentaries. This is a common activity in most traditions and is known as swadhyaya (study and contemplation).

For some, being spiritual is a sense of connection with the universe. For others, it is about letting go of ego and seeing things as they truly are. For still others, it is a feeling of interconnectedness with all life.

Whether you consider yourself religious or not, it is important to understand that we all have a spiritual side. A spiritual perspective can help people cope with stress, feel more hopeful, and develop greater compassion for themselves and others. It can also help people find meaning and purpose in their lives and heal from the past. For this reason, it is important for mental health professionals to recognize and honor a patient’s spirituality in the context of their treatment. This can be done through the use of tools such as lifemaps, genograms and eco-maps to explore how spirituality has been a part of their whole-person experience in various times and places.