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Assessing Clients' Religious and Spiritual Lives At Intake: A Survey Of Psychology Training Clinic Policies and Procedures

7 December 2007


The focus of this study is on religious and/or spiritual assessment within a framework of multiculturally-competent clinical practice. Forty psychology training clinic directors (TCDs) affiliated with APA-approved degree programs·completed an online survey about clinic policies regarding religious/spiritual diversity, perceived attitudes and beliefs regarding religious/spiritual assessment within clinical practice, and the extent to which student trainees are instructed to inquire about their clients' religious and/spiritual concerns, beliefs, or practices as a part of initial intake assessments. Although it was hypothesized that directors from religiously affiliated and non-religiously-affiliated clinics would acknowledge the importance of religion and/or spirituality in clients' lives in written policies, very few TCDs indicated having policies addressing this topic. Also, due to the small sample size, it was not possible to compare intake procedures at religiously affiliated and secular clinics. Included is a summary of reported attitudes and beliefs about religious/spiritual assessment at intake and in clinical practice generally. Finally, the possible reasons the hypotheses were not supported, the strengths and limitations of the current study, the educational and clinical implications of the results, and suggestions for future research are discussed.


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