Four steps to improve religious/spiritual competence in professional psychology

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American Psychological Association


Professional psychologists pride themselves on their efforts to be on the cutting-edge of multiculturalism in professional training, service, education, and research. However, when it comes to multiculturalism as it relates to religious diversity, too often psychology professionals are silent and uninterested. If practitioners and researchers in psychology truly desire to be attentive to diversity and multiculturalism, broadly defined, then we clearly need to include religion in the list of topics that we purport to attend to and respect in terms of cultural competence training. Ethical and competent professional psychologists may find it useful to follow the following 4 steps in their efforts to increase their cultural competence as it pertains to religious and spiritual multiculturalism. These include (a) being aware of biases, (b) considering religion like any other type of diversity, (c) taking advantage of available resources, and (d) consulting colleagues, including clerics. To do otherwise may not only be unethical, but also lead to malpractice.