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Screening Questions for Spirituality in Counseling


Mental health professionals have recognized the importance of religion and spirituality to wellbeing. I have seen intake forms that ignore spirituality or ask only about a person’s religious identity or if they would like a visit from a chaplain or clergy during a hospitalization.

Clinicians can reasonably ask how to explore the importance of spirituality to treatment without being overly intrusive or disrespectful when a patient does not volunteer relevant information. David Hodge (2013) offers four screening questions based on his review of the literature (p. 98).

I offer a paraphrase of Hodge’s suggestions and suggest consulting his chapter, which I found in my university library (see reference below). Each question is tied to a one-word therapeutic purpose.

1. Importance

How important is spiritual or religious faith to you?

2. Affiliation

Do you attend religious services? Do you participate in any groups that would be considered religious or spiritual?

3. Resources

Are there any spiritual or religious beliefs or practices that you find helpful?

4. Relationship to psychotherapy goals

Have any of the concerns you mentioned affected you spirituality or had an influence on your faith?

The questions may be asked at any point in the psychotherapy process. Each question offers the potential for a more in-depth exploration of the patient’s faith as relevant to their psychotherapy goals.

I have posted a number of questionnaires and scales in this blog that may be helpful to further explore one or more dimensions of religious faith or spirituality. In clinical practice, it may not be important to administer an entire scale or questionnaire to obtain relevant information. Instead, clinicians might find a few items that help patient’s connect their faith to their therapeutic goals.

Read more about assessment in counseling and psychotherapy in Applied Statistics: Concepts for Counselors.


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Hodge, D.R. (2013). Assessing spirituality and religion in the context of counseling and psychotherapy. In K. I. Pargament (Ed.) APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality: Vol. 2. An Applied Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, pp. 93-123. Washington, DC: APA.

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