Date of Award

Winter 1-10-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Gregory L. Brack, PhD

Second Advisor

Catherine Y. Chang, PhD

Third Advisor

Andrea L. Dixon, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Joffrey S. Suprina, PhD





Deborah K. Ross

The counseling profession has recognized the importance of spirituality in the counseling process (Hall, Dixon, & Mauzey, 2004; Kelly Jr., 1994; Miranti, 2007; Young, Wiggins-Frame, & Cashwell, 2007). As a component of providing quality care, Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development Counseling Competencies call upon counselors to respect clients’ religious and spiritual beliefs as a matter of diversity (Arredondo et al., 1996). A supervisor’s approach to spirituality shapes the nature not only of the supervision itself but also of the supervisee’s practice (American Counseling Association, 2005). While authors (Aten & Hernandez, 2004; Bishop et al., 2003; Carlson et al., 2002; Frame, 2003; Isakson et al., 2001; Kilpatrick & Holland, 1990; Okundaye et al., 1999; Polanski, 2003; Stebnicki, 2006) have suggested that supervisors are already addressing spirituality in supervision, little data exist about the process of how supervisors actually incorporate spirituality in their supervision. In this manuscript, the author provides a conceptual consideration of effective ways to discuss spirituality in supervision with implications from Quaker practices, Native American spiritual teachings, and models of spiritual development from Sukyo Mahikari.

In the second chapter, the author presents the results of a qualitative phenomenological methodology (Creswell, 2007) to examine three research questions: How are supervisors helping their supervisees conceptualize the involvement of spirituality with their clients? How are supervisors teaching their supervisees to process spiritual content to help their clients? How does a supervisor inform her own therapeutic perspective on spirituality? Eleven supervisors who integrate spirituality in their practices shared their supervision experiences. Their recorded interviews were transcribed, examined for significant statements, and then synthesized into descriptions of essential essences (Creswell, 2007). The meaning units are described in three stages: 1. beginning to be, during which time the supervisors describe how spirituality shows up in their work with supervisees in regards to creating a safe and authentic space for supervisees to explore their own therapeutic spiritual framework and practice working from their authentic selves; 2. creating a map to all directions, a co-creation of the supervisor and supervisee regarding the nature and boundaries of spiritual experiences; and 3. sojourning, the collaborative journey in which learning and processing spiritual experiences shapes how the supervisors foster spiritual presence and authenticity.

Keywords: spirituality, supervision, therapy, phenomenology, Quaker, Sukyo Mahikari, Native American spirituality